When designing a retro-style automobile like the revived MINI, Mustang or VW Beetle, the first generation is the easy one. The second go-round, on the other hand, is a tougher nut to crack, and the easy thing to do is to maintain the status quo. Volkswagen did just that when it revised its New Beetle back in 2006, but the third-generation of today's Bug is expected to ratchet things up a bit design-wise. We're expecting something more mature, perhaps along the lines of the Ragster concept from 2005, which emphasized its low-slung bodywork with a chopped top reminiscent of the Porsche Speedster. Flashier lights and more angular sheetmetal are also distinct possibilities.
Whatever the case, it won't be an easy redesign. VeeDub could stay the course by keeping the cute and charming nature of the current New Beetle intact or it could spice things up with something much more sporty. Could the German automaker do both? That's an option for the future, and current rumors indicate that VW has considered at least two separate Beetle models, one based on the Golf and another using the underpinnings from the yet-to-be-released Up! microcar. The current state of the economy, though, makes a plan like that much less likely to bear fruit.