Saturday, May 07, 2011

The New New Beetle

For the last few weeks, I've been getting a ton of questions about my thoughts on the design of the newest version of The Beetle. Though I've kind of dodged the question, I haven't meant to seem evasive. I've merely been gathering my thoughts and some interesting questions have arisen.

First and foremost. I dig the new design. Yes, I was a big fan of the original New Beetle, especially the Turbo S. I loved its iconic, minimalist geometry and UFO-like stance. I also totally get where VW is going with this new design and its serious hearkening back to Dr. Ferdinand Porsche's first "peoples' car."

I really like its lines, the fact that it can graceful accommodate 19-inch rims and its sporty retro vibe. But these design choices come with some repercussions. This is a decidedly more masculine car than the New Beetle, which beckons the question: Who is VW targeting with this one?

I think we can all agree that despite some cool trim options over the years, the New Beetle has been come somewhat of a chick car with the Golf/GTI platform becoming VW's bromobile. This newest version of The Beetle is more of a man machine and for the most part, I think VW is targeting, well… me. I mean here I am, driving a sporty retro racer. If this is VW's attempt to win me over then I'm confused, isn't the GTI already meant to do just that?

Though I can totally geek out over VW's design choices with The Beetle, I just can't see myself behind the wheel of one. There are just too many hot hatches and cool cars in line before I'd ever consider The Beetle. This list consists of multiple MINIs, the BMW 1-Series, the Fiat 500, the Audi A3, and even the Mazdaspeed3 for heaven's sake. We'll have to see what accouterments The Beetle R brings (a move which I question as well), but I suspect my feelings won't change dramatically.

The bottom line is that In a hyper-competitive small car market, VW needs to focus on who's really driving their cars and stop adding to its own competition.

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