Volkswagen’s signature vehicle for 73 years is changing changes. The company has announced the Beetle will have a different look and better features. Hopes are that the changes will spiff up Volkswagen’s sales in the U.S. … triple them, in fact.
These days, a vehicle that can deliver more gas mileage, comfort, an attractive appearance and a reasonable price stands a chance of doing well. That’s the goal.
This will be the first significant modification to the Beetle since the late 1990s, when a former Oklahoma boy, J Mays of the small town of Maysville (named for his distant ancestors), got involved.
Volkswagen sales had fallen in the U.S. after a peak in 1962, some 30 years after the Beetle first was developed by Nazi Germany. In fact, Volkswagen ceased sales of the Beetle here in 1979. But Mays gave the car and the company a rebirth with the New Beetle design and it rolled on.
The effort was successful, as was Mays, who was hired as the youngest chief of design for any U.S. automaker when Ford hired him away and he promptly reached the winner’s circle again with a redesigned Ford Thunderbird.
Now, the Beetle may have another victory in sight.
The new design includes a few cosmetic features that certainly will draw attention. There is a flatter roof, narrower windows, a crease along the side and “a less bulbous shape,” auto design critics say.
Don’t expect the new version to look like Herbie the “Love Bug” of Walt Disney movie fame. This one has a smoother, more modern appearance.
How well will it be received? That’s yet to be seen. But with a navigation system, a larger trunk, better lighting and a fancier interior, it’s sure to get some attention.
The Mays New Beetle was popular with women in their 50s and 60s, car experts noted, but the latest Beetle has been getting good reviews from male focus groups. One reason is that the 170 hp, 2.5-liter engine has been upgraded and there now is a 200 hp, turbocharged gas engine, as well as a diesel engine which has a rating of 40 miles per gallon.
We’ll see how the new Beetle (as opposed to the New Beetle of Mays) sells. It may be a winner, or it may fall in line behind the high-volume sales machine, such as the Toyota Corolla, the Jetta, the Passat, or other sedans.
Now if they had just left that built-in flower base on the dash …
See more on the new Beetle at http://knowit.newsok.com/buying-a-car-oklahoma