VW has chosen the prestigious Shanghai Auto Show to debut the new and redesigned 2012 Beetle. China produces nearly three times as many cars as the U.S., the world's fourth largest auto producer. American auto production is down almost 50% since 2000, as the U.S. suffered a huge industrial and economic decline during that decade making auto shows in nations such as China more important to many producers. However, the new 2012 Beetle design seems tailor-made for the U.S. market with a retro appeal.
Most noticeable about the new Beetle is a longer, lower and wider less bulbous appearance than the previous version. This should appeal more to men than the previous model did, which seemed to do a lot better with women buyers. VW considers the new model to very critical to their five year plan to become the world's leading auto producer. The new VW also includes more power than before as well to go with the more masculine appearance of the new VW which has a far less toy-like appearance than the old model. The latest generation of VW also looks less and less like the German knockoff of the old 1930's Czech Tatra T-97. The original Beetle simply stole the basic design of the Czech car to quickly produce a car to satisfy Hitler, however by 1961 VW had to pay big damages to Tatra for ripping off this design.
And new features such as a turbocharged engine, Bluetooth or touchscreen navigation certainly mark the evolution of the new Beetle into modern times.
If VW's plans to dominate world sales are ever to realistically realized, decent U.S. sales of the new Beetle are critical. And American buyers will likely respond to the new Beetle in decent numbers, although part of the cute image of the older models seems really lost in this latest outing. It's more technological and more muscular, but part of the appeal of the older models seems missing this time. Perhaps many buyers might see the new VW as a more affordable "Porsche". And if that boosts sales for VW, then they'll probably be glad to take it.
Retro cars tend to be popular. This should be no exception to that rule.