Saturday, September 24, 2011

A More Manly Beetle

From USA Today:
Man up, Volkswagen is saying to its iconic Beetle. We love all those female buyers, but the cute look is leaving too much male money on the table.

The 2012 Beetle ("New" no longer is part of its name) is a redesign that's bigger, still rounded but sleeker, more powerful and sits on a wider stance.

The dashboard bud vase of the previous model wasn't carried over.

Instead, you can adorn the dashboard with optional gauges to monitor temperatures and pressures.

VW U.S. chief Jonathan Browning says the New Beetle, discontinued in August 2010, had "a very large contingent of female buyers. We want to keep those buyers and expand to male buyers."

Women were registered owners of 60.6% of New Beetles last year, up from 56.1% in 2009, according to industry tracker "It is the most female-oriented car on the market," says TrueCar's Jesse Toprak. No. 2: Nissan Rogue, at 56.3% and 53.5% female owners.

Experience tells automakers that women will buy a "guy's car," but men are less likely to buy what still is called in the business "a chick's car," or "a girl's car."

We'll soon see how well VW read the tea leaves. The 2012 Beetle hit showrooms Thursday, starting at the same $18,995 (before $770 shipping) as the model it replaces. It has a meaner look outside, more like the TT from VW's corporate relative Audi...

Test Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle gets 'manly' redo
James R. Healey, USA TODAY

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