CURTAIN CALL FOR BUG
FTER more than 10 years and one million cars, the fashion-friendly Beetle is finally bowing out.
The last of the modern water-cooled front-drive ‘‘New Beetle’’ is being celebrated with the unveiling of a ‘‘Final Edition’’ version.
Just 3000 powder blue coupes and convertibles will be sold in North America. Already hundreds have been snapped up by collectors since it was announced at the recent Los Angeles motor show.
However, the quirky two-door will soldier on in Australia at least this year before the next-generation car arrives in Europe in 2011.
Volkswagen is not revealing too much about the new car, except to say it will continue with the famous bug shape.
But it is expected to be lighter, roomier and more
Afuel efficient with a range of alternative powertrains, including a possibly hybrid version to complement VW’s new-generation petrol and diesel engines.
The 2011 Beetle is expected to share its underpinnings with the new Golf and should promise better handling car.
Although the design will be the evolution of the Beetle look, Volkswagen HQ is known to be looking at broadening the car’s appeal from its mostly female fan base.
Volkswagen Australia spokesman Karl Gehling said the car had been very popular with female buyers locally.
More than 50 per cent of buyers are women under the age of 30.
Gehling said the ‘‘Final Edition’’ would only be available in America.
‘‘But we do have some plans for limited edition models here,’’ he said.
Locally VW has introduced the limited-edition Miami version and 2008 anniversary editions, which proved popular with buyers.
In the US, VW even sold a hot pink ‘‘Barbie’’ version to celebrate the doll’s 50th anniversary last year.
‘‘It’s the type of car that lends itself to special editions,’’ Gehling said.
He said although it had not been a big seller locally throughout its life, the company was happy with sales.
‘‘ It not a ume product but consistent,’’ he said.
The ‘‘ New Beetle’’ is based on the 1994 Detroit show car called Concept 1. When it finally hit production in 1998 the car ditched the original’s aircooled rear engine layout
is volit is for a modern water-cooled front engine and front wheel drive based on the Golf. Instead of being built in Germany too, the modern Beetle came out of Puebla, Mexico.
Each special North American Bug gets ‘‘Final Edition’’ badging, special steering wheel, sports suspension, 17-inch alloys and special schemes. In the US the car is powered by a 112kW 2.5-litre inline five-cylinder engine through a sixspeed automatic.
The same engine is used in some VW commercial vehicles and Audis.