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There’s no doubt that the redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is sportier and less “bubbly” than the previous model, but is it really attracting more male buyers?
When Volkswagen released its New Beetle in 1998, it was clearly built for the female demographic with its cute, round body and flower vase. Try as it might, the German automaker was unable to shake that image over the last decade until the newer Beetle debuted.
“One of the goals, obviously, was to potentially attract a more-balanced buyer group,” said Tim Mahoney, VW’s U.S. chief product and marketing officer said. “We’re seeing that happen.”
According to sales statistics of the new 2012 VW Beetle that hit dealerships in September of 2011, 43-percent of its buyers in America are men. Compared to the 29-percent from a year earlier with the older model. In December alone, half of Beetle buyers were male compared to the 36-percent a year earlier.
Even still, we’re not convinced the “chick car” stigma is really gone. It’s still easy to imagine the ribbing you might get after pulling up to your buddy’s place in one of these.
Volkswagen‘s update to the Beetle has been well received, and now there are some pricing figures to go along with it. For its initial launch, the 2012 Beetle will come with two powertrain choices, a 2.5L five-cylinder with a six-speed automatic, or a 2.0L TSI turbocharged four-cylinder with a DSG six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Manual transmissions will be available at a later date for both models. The base Beetle has a starting MSRP of $18,995 while the Turbo will come in at $23,395.
Available models for the 2.5L include Beetle, 2.5 Beetle, 2.5 Beetle with sunroof and 2.5 Beetle with sunroof, sound and Navi. All will be powered by the 170-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque 2.5L motor. The Turbo is available in three trims: Turbo, Turbo with sunroof and Turbo with sunroof, sound and Navi. Those three models will sport 200-hp and 207 lb-ft of torque.
Standard for the $18,995 Beetle has a split-folding rear seat, aux-in for portable media players, a leather steering wheel, customizable 17-inch wheels and an eight-speaker audio system. For the Turbo, standard equipment includes Bluetooth technology, iPod connectivity, three-color ambient lighting, larger brakes with red calipers, kaeferfach additional glovebox, sport seating surfaces, 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights, three additional gauges on the dash plus alloy pedals.
Options include a panoramic roof, Fender Premium Audio System, Keyless Access with push-button start and Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle
The newest generation of the Volkswagen Beetle might not have hit our showrooms yet, but that hasn’t stopped its maker from planning additional future models.
The latest rumors are that a Beetle R version will bow at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September of this year, and this will feature the engine from the Golf R. That means it will have an output of nearly 270-hp from a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit. The current engines available in the Beetle include the 2.5-liter five-cylinder motor producing 170-hp and the 2.0-liter turbo, four-cylinder that produces 200-hp.
The Beetle R would thus be a step above the Turbo model, and would be priced at nearly $30,000. Despite taking a lot of technical bits from the Golf R, it won’t be using its all-wheel drive unit.
If the demand is there, VW might even consider doing a convertible version of the Beetle R, but that only time will tell.
This is not the first time a hot Beetle has been offered, back in 2001 VW had launched the Beetle RSi, which featured a VR6 motor, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive. Only 250 examples were built, but sadly none were offered in the United States.
Let’s hope this time around, we do get our hands on this latest fast Beetle.
[Source: Car and Driver]
Volkswagen has just revealed the all-new 2012 Beetle, returning the ‘Bug’ to its retro-styled ways. You’ll have to pardon the poor photos though. Officially that isn’t supposed to have debuted yet, but Motor Trend busted the embargo so we’re using their grainy pics.
The replacement for the ‘New Beetle’ the car is set to debut first at the Shanghai Auto Show and then at the 2011 New York Auto Show on Wednesday. Sitting 0.5-inches lower than the previous car, it’s also 3.3-inches wider. With a significantly improved interior, it’s near-luxury inside and that theme flows throughout with items like bi-xenon headlights and 19-inch wheels.
Continuing to be a front-driver, engine choices are no surprise with the usual selection of gasoline and diesel powered VW mills, including a 200-hp 2.0 TFSI, a standard 170-hp 2.5-liter 5-cylinder and a 140-hp TDI engine with 236 lb-ft of torque and a 29/40-mpg rating. The 2.5-liter engine comes with the choice of a 5-speed stick shift or 6-speed manual, while the turbo gas engine gets either a six-speed stick or six-speed dual-clutch unit and the brand’s XDS electronic differential, which first debuted on the 2010 GTI.
Look for live photos on Wednesday, April 20th with out New York Auto Show here.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle
***UPDATE: Official images now included***
Looking a lot like the spy photos we’ve already seen no other details about the car have been provided. On the show, Oprah said she has seen the car, even though it’s not set to go into production for a while and won’t go on sale until the Fall of 2011.
It’s not yet clear if VW plans to continue its U.S. market strategy with the new New Beetle, by delivering the car as a less refined vehicle at a much lower price point – which is what Volkswagen is doing with the new Jetta and plans to do with its Passat replacement.
Oprah, who drives a New Beetle, gave away 275 versions of the car to those in the audience at her show.
VW has yet to even hint at what auto show the car will debut at, with Detroit a possibility and New York in April more likely. However, using Oprah to help promote the car, one has to think VW might choose Oprah’s local Chicago Auto Show in February for the debut.
While many had just hoped assumed Volkswagen might let the new Beetle fade away after its first generation, the German automaker appears committed to the sickeningly cute car. So much so that a second-generation, or new New Beetle, will arrive next year.
According to a report by AutoWeek, VW will show a concept version of the car at the LA Auto Show before introducing a production model in May of 2011. Both cars are expected to take design cues from the 2005 Ragster Concept (above), and focus less on retro styling cues, with a stronger and more muscular appearance.
And while the Beetle is anything but an enthusiast’s car, VW is planning to take it more in that direction with a stronger focus on driving dynamics.Initially both a 2.0-liter diesel will be offered as well as VWs 2.5-liter 5-cylinder. Both five and six-speed manual transmissions will be available, as well as an optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. After its launch, the car is slated to get a hybrid powertrain using the company’s impressive twin-charger (supercharged and turbocharged) 1.4-liter 4-cylinder.