New Beetle muscles up
The turbo badge and six-speed manual gearbox fitted to the Volkswagen Beetle at the New York auto show say everything about the car.
Men are the target and Volkswagen is getting tough to win them to the second remake of the 60-yearold original.
It has made the Beetle’s body longer, lower and wider to make it more masculine, and also to answer criticisms of the girlie 1998 model — pinched back-seat space and an overly-small boot — which was always compromised by sitting over the top of a Golf.
The latest Beetle has also got a much more mainstream cabin design — without a dash that tips a vase in tribute to the original — but looks better and holds on to the rounded shape while also including fake running boards down the side.
It’s already confirmed for Australia next year and Volkswagen believes it will be more popular than the car that brought the charismatic Beetle back from the dead.
‘‘Two thousand and twelve, that’s decided, so in one year’s time probably,’’ says the head of Volkswagen Group Australia, Anke Koeckler.
She is a strong supporter of the new design and the changes made for men.
‘‘Right now the designers tried to make it actually more masculine, and I think the job is done.
‘‘We will have more men sitting in the car.’’
The mechanical detail of the Beetle is being kept for later.
But already it is confirmed with a range of petrol and diesel engines, both DSG and manual gearboxes, and — for the moment — front-wheel drive.
In Australia, the runout
the existing Beetle has been going for some time and Koeckler says stock is very short.
‘‘We don’t produce the Beetles for stock, were producing the Beetle for customers, and that means we don’t have a lot of Beetles left,’’ she says.
And she’s looking forward to a car that, together with the sporty Scirocco coupe, has the potential to bring new customers to the German brand.
‘‘This is a really good product to emotionalise our brand again. It’s such an iconic model for our brand right now to have the right solution. It took us a bit of time but right now I think the product is looking quite promising for us.’’
It has made the body longer, lower and wider
The more masculine-looking Beetle