Born-again Beetle

A new New Beetle is hatch­ing, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

THE New Beetle is dead but will live again within 18 months. Volk­swa­gen has just ended pro­duc­tion of the rounded retrorun­ner but is al­ready promis­ing a new New Beetle will be ready for the road to­wards the end of next year.

Next time it will be much more fo­cused than the orig­i­nal come­back car, which was ba­si­cally a Beetle body slapped over the top of the me­chan­i­cal pack­age of the Golf.

Anke Koeck­ler, head of Volk­swa­gen Group Aus­tralia, says: ‘‘The new beetle is com­ing next year. We’re plan­ning it for next year.

‘‘We are go­ing to have the talks in Ger­many next month and do the plan­ning, and then we can de­cide ex­actly what time we want to in­tro­duce this car.

‘‘We have to do it prop­erly. It’s not big vol­ume, but it’s very im­por­tant with the po­si­tion and her­itage for this iconic model.’’

The born-again Beetle has worked well for Volk­swa­gen, par­tic­u­larly in the US. But Volk­swa­gen is do­ing a lot of re­search on many projects, in­clud- ing the baby Up city car which should be ready for pro­duc­tion next year. It may share parts with the new Golf.

Koeck­ler saysVW must stay true to the Beetle’s ba­sic de­sign for the new car, be­cause it’s one of the world’s few sig­na­ture shapes.

‘‘Ev­ery­one has a pic­ture in their mind of the Beetle and of Volk­swa­gen,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s al­ways a bit dif­fi­cult for this iconic model to make a big step for­ward and a change in the de­sign. It might be a lit­tle bit more mod­ern, but we will not change the con­cept of the de­sign.’’

Though the new New Beetle is still se­cret, VW Aus­tralia is run­ning out the last of its New Bee­tles with a spe­cial pack with body­work painted black or orange.

‘‘We have this spe­cial model, but there are not many left. All the stock is with the deal­ers,’’ Koeck­ler says.

The Black­Orange cars are priced from $27,500 and come with 17-inch al­loys on sports sus­pen­sion, leatherette up­hol­stery, cruise con­trol, foglamps, tinted win­dows and al­loy plat­ing for the ped­als with a leather steer­ing wheel and shift knob.

Beetle­ma­nia: say ‘bye to the New Beetle, but a new New Beetle beck­ons.

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