New New Beetle More "Mature?"

new new beetle more mature

The next Volkswagen New Beetle will have more “mature” styling, reports Automotive News [sub], in news that will come as a sad shock to the MILF, openly homosexual and high-school-gum-snapping communities. “The future New Beetle should look less toyish and become a much more mature product,” glowers Walter de’ Silva, VW’s chief of design to AN. Expect VW to eliminate the vast tundra between A-pillar and steering wheel when the new model drops in 2012. The current long-running New Beetle was much criticized for offering less interior room at a higher price than its Golf platform donor. But Vee-Dub has to be careful here. Though the outgoing model could easily be more practical, the New Beetle has always been bought for “cute value,” and if the Germans sober it up too much it could lose its appeal vis-a-vis the Golf. After all, wasn’t reviving the Rabbit name and plaid GTI seats a way to infuse the Golf with boomer retro appeal (apparently the cornerstone of VW’s brand appeal)? Against that backdrop, shouldn’t the Beetle become even more “toy-like” to stand out? Then again, maybe I’m just bitter that there almost certainly won’t be a rear-engined, VW up!-based baby Beetle. And while we’re speculating on retro variants, could VW please build a seven-passenger, retro-styled, Microbus on the Golf Plus platform? That new Tennessee plant would be a great place to build it…


Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 26 comments
  • Dr Lemming Dr Lemming on Oct 10, 2008

    I think that the Beetle can still be an important brand for VW, at least here in the U.S. The question is how to update it. For example, the Beetle could plausibly be stretched a bit into a Prius competitor of sorts -- a source of quirky, vaguely nostalgic (but not necessarily fully retro), practical and "green" vehicles. That would, of course, result in a more "mature" product line than what is currently offered. The New Beetle is essentially a happy-faced styling exercise. Or, to be more specific, it's a personal coupe. The design reminds me more of an AMC Pacer (a fancied up Gremlin) than the original Beetle. Indeed, even the Pacer had more substantive engineering flourishes than the New Beetle. No wonder sales declined after the styling stopped being fresh -- there is no other reason to buy the car. That's quite the opposite from the original. The essential greatness of the original Beetle wasn't just its price, size and simplicity, but also that VW defied the standard way that Detroit and the imports did business. Perhaps the most obvious example was that VW had the audacity to proudly sell a 30-year-old design without annual styling changes. All of the emphasis was on practical improvements. In addition, during an era when Detroit products were put together rather sloppily, VW's quality of manufacture was a refreshing change of pace. VW also separated itself from most of its import competition (at least until the late 60s) by building a dealer network that offered easily available parts and service. This proved to be a huge advantage in the late 50s and early 60s, when many imports had embarrassingly flimsy dealer networks. A contemporary Beetle could reclaim some of VW's innovative spirit by translating the bug shape into highly aerodynamic forms that maintain good packaging and versatility. Add in a light-weight aluminum body? Emphasize diesel and hybrid powerplants? Offer unusual features such as less toxic interior materials and greater recycleability of the entire vehicle? No-dicker sticker a la Scion? Not that VW will go this route. The company's management seems more fixated on conquering premium-priced markets.

  • The Luigiian The Luigiian on Oct 10, 2008
    I think that the Beetle can still be an important brand for VW, at least here in the U.S. The question is how to update it. For example, the Beetle could plausibly be stretched a bit into a Prius competitor of sorts — a source of quirky, vaguely nostalgic (but not necessarily fully retro), practical and “green” vehicles. If they built a New Beetle hybrid and kept the price around $22K it would sell fantastically. It would fit the Beetle's image perfectly, and it would give wannabe Prius buyers the choice of a vehicle that wasn't ugly. Why do companies have to continually go upmarket? I guess they're preparing for days when there's no middle class to sell to?

  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
  • Mongo312 Had an 89SE, 92SE and an 03SE all with stick. The 03 took almost 3 months to find because there were so few produced with a manual transmission and dealers didn't want to give them up. Ended up buying one from a dealership in San Antonio and having it shipped here to St Louis.
  • Bullnuke About 15 years before the TR-8 my brother-in-law put a 301 Chevy small block in a TR-3A. Needed a U-joint in the steering to clear the headers, a modified '59 Pontiac radiator, and a drive shaft that was basically two U-joints end-to-end. It was a scream to drive, basically a small block Chevy with 3-deuces on wheels. 142mph in the quarter - we learned that the original wire wheels were a no-go on this thing at the drags...
Next