Volkswagen is gearing up to launch a wave of electric vehicles to appeal to a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers — the children and grandchildren of the 1960s Beetle enthusiasts. Picture: BLOOMBERG/Luke Sharrett
Volkswagen is gearing up to launch a wave of electric vehicles to appeal to a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers — the children and grandchildren of the 1960s Beetle enthusiasts. Picture: BLOOMBERG/Luke Sharrett

Volkswagen says it will stop producing its iconic Beetle car in 2019, ending a model that looked backward to the 1960s counterculture as the automaker prepares for a leap towards a future of mass-market electric cars. The end of the Beetle comes at a turning point for Volkswagen. The German automaker’s past three years have been rocked by the fallout from a scandal caused by its admitted cheating on diesel-emissions tests.

Roche in efficiency drive

Roche, the world’s biggest producer of cancer drugs, is stepping up cost cuts in an efficiency drive made unavoidable by competition from cut-price copies of three mega-brands from its US Genentech biotech stable. The Swiss company has some of the industry’s most admired research and development labs but it is battling to increase medicine sales as its biotech portfolio ages and rivalry intensifies.

CEO Severin Schwan is confident he can fill the sales gap but expects only "moderate growth" into 2019 before a "re-acceleration" around 2021-2022.

Reuters