It’s odd that China’s two largest carmakers, Volkswagen and GM chose Shanghai as the launchpad of their retro cars. After all, the 50s and 60s have zero appeal in China. Nobody thinks of Rock’n’Roll when they think back in China. Those were the forgotten times of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The iconic cars of China’s past are the Santana, the Buick Century, the Jeep Cherokee of the 1980s and 1990s.
Volkswagen wisely dropped any historic cues. The beginnings of the Beetle were in a likewise dark era in Germany. Volkswagen also dropped the new in Beetle. After all, New New Beetle would have been a bit much.
Ulrich Hackenberg. Chief of R&D at Volkswagen said the Beetle has “added testosterone.” That’s needed, because the predecessor was pretty much of a lady’s car. Or a car for people who feel like ladies. The Beetle, or “Jia Ke Chong“ as they call it in China in the rare moments they ever see one (it is not locally produced) has a longer wheelbase, a bigger trunk, is less effeminate, and reminds more of the original Käfer.
Market launch, North America: September / October 2011
Market launch, Europe: October / November 2011
Market launch, Asia: February 2012
Market launch, South America: late 2012 / early 2013
Engine power range: 77 kW / 105 PS to 147 kW / 200 PS
Lowest fuel consumption (combined), Europe: 4.3* l/100 km (1.6 TDI)
Fuel economy (combined) USA: 33 mpg* (2.0 TDI)
Engine specifications: all petrol engines are charged TSI engines (except 2.5-litre engine for USA); all diesels are new common rail TDI engines; all engines meet Euro-5 emissions standard; all US engines fulfil BIN5 / ULEV PZEV