New New Beetle More "Mature?"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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…

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • 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?
  • AZFelix 2015 Sonata Limited72k when purchased, 176k miles currentlyI perform all maintenance and repairs except for alignment, tire mounting, tire patching, and glass work (tint and passenger left due to rock hit). Most parts purchased through and repairs during three years of ownership:Front rotors and all brake pads upgraded shortly after purchase.Preparing for 17th oil change (full synthetic plus filter c.$50), one PCV valve.Timing & accessory belts, belt tensioner.Coolant full flush and change.Fibrous plastic material engine under tray replaced by aftermarket solid plastic piece $110.One set of tires (c.$500 +installation) plus two replacements and a number of patches due to nails, etc. Second set coming soon.Hood struts $30.Front struts, rear shocks, plus sway bar links, front ball joints, tie rod ends, right CV axle (large rock on freeway damaged it and I took the opportunity to redo the rest of items on this list).Battery c.$260.Two sets of spark plugs @ $50/set.Three sets of cabin and engine filters.Valve cover gasket (next week).Averages out to c.$1400 per year for the past three years. Minor driver seat bolster wear, front rock chips, and assorted dents & dings but otherwise looks and drives very well.
  • 3-On-The-Tree 2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5L. By 80,000mi I had to have the rear main oil seal replaced twice. Driver side turbo leaking had to have all hoses replaced. Passenger side turbo had to be completely replaced. Engine timing chain front cover leak had to be replaced. Transmission front pump leak had to be removed and replaced. Ford renewed my faith in Extended warranty’s because luckily I had one and used it to the fullest. Sold that truck on caravan and got me a 2021 Tundra Crewmax 4x4. Not a fan of turbos and I will never own a Ford again much less cars with turbos to include newer Toyotas. And I’m a Toyota guy.
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  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X '19 Nissan Frontier @78000 miles has been oil changes ( eng/ diffs/ tranny/ transfer). Still on original brakes and second set of tires.
  • ChristianWimmer I have a 2018 Mercedes A250 with almost 80,000 km on the clock and a vintage ‘89 Mercedes 500SL R129 with almost 300,000 km.The A250 has had zero issues but the yearly servicing costs are typically expensive from this brand - as expected. Basic yearly service costs around 400 Euros whereas a more comprehensive servicing with new brake pads, spark plugs plus TÜV etc. is in the 1000+ Euro region.The 500SL servicing costs were expensive when it was serviced at a Benz dealer, but they won’t touch this classic anymore. I have it serviced by a mechanic from another Benz dealership who also owns an R129 300SL-24 and he’ll do basic maintenance on it for a mere 150 Euros. I only drive the 500SL about 2000 km a year so running costs are low although the fuel costs are insane here. The 500SL has had two previous owners with full service history. It’s been a reliable car according to the records. The roof folding mechanism needs so adjusting and oiling from time to time but that’s normal.