We could make a beetle analog with modern technology and have it be extremely cheap, but instead people have decided that they prefer buying more car.
Yes and no. I recently bought a new car after 15 years in my old one. I really like the tech. BUT, I'd also love the option of buying a 40 year old car (yes, I'm that old) at a 40 year old adjusted price. No more mandated safety and mileage features than were current then, bumper welded to the chassis like the '46 Dodge truck I drove around the country in the '70's, etc. I might not buy one now at this stage of life, but I wish my kids at least had the option.
And yes, before the flames start, I DO believe the fuel efficiency of my car is my business, not the governments. Pollution, not so much, but cost of gas to run the damn thing? No one else's business but my own.