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2009 Volkswagen New Beetle – Click above for high-res image gallery

The "New Beetle" was a smash hit when it debuted in 1998, and the cutesy little Bug immediately jumped to sales of 83,434 the next year. Over the next 10 years, however, Volkswagen left the spiritual successor to the original Beetle out to dry, and sales have steadily dropped down to near nothingness. AutoWeek is reporting that Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of VW of America, confirmed at a press event in Germany that a long overdue redesign of the New Beetle is coming in 2012, and packaging will be vastly improved.

The current back seat of the New Beetle is a real problem being far too small and uncomfortable for a vehicle in the small car segment. Jacoby says the next Beetle will have a larger rear quarters and better packaging, without growing much beyond its current dimensions. Jacoby says the Beetle will also be used by VW as a kind of low-cost halo car, showing that the German automaker has returned to its roots of building cars for the people.

It's great that VW is finally getting around to making the next New Beetle, but with 14 years between redesigns, we're thinking VW needs to knock the next little Bug out of the park if it once again wants to catch the eye of the car-buying public.



[Source: AutoWeek]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seriously? Not a single Mallrats reference? Guh.

      Also: that the Beetle has been around for 14 years makes me feel incredibly old. Does this mean it's still on the mid-90s VW Jetta chassis?
        • 5 Years Ago
        TimO,

        The Beetle will be 14 seasons old when its replacement arrives for 2012. 2009 was its 12th.

        It's actually on the Golf IV (PQ34) chassis. The mid-90s Jetta was on the Golf III's.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ... what like the back of a Volkswagen?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I never understood how a family car for the masses could have such little room. I'm talking about the original btw.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about we lose the back seat and put the engine and drive wheels in it's proper place?
      • 5 Years Ago
      About time for a new version, hopefully the new Turbo motor makes it in. Yeah, I know the 1.8T was offered, but only a 150hp version. How fun would a new 2.0T beetle be with 200hp.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, the Turbo S were super rare, and there was the super super rare Beetle RSI with the VR6 in it. I think those were around 80k though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There was also the Turbo S, with 180 hp.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Never understood why VW did such a poor New Beetle interior packaging job. It has a 4.3” longer wheelbase, is 7.4” wider and is 1.1” longer than the original which has superior interior utilization.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Inline 6: True, but remember that at its introduction the New Beetle had the 2.0L I4 with the diesel as an option. The I5 is longer, but I suspect not much wider than the original 4.
        • 5 Years Ago
        jim,

        Not to mention that the original Beetle's engine was an air-cooled 1.1L flat-4, while the new one has a 2.5L inline-5 under the hood along with a radiator. The former lumps took up far, far less space than the later version's.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A very simple answer, the original has a rear engine, i.e. it hangs behind the rear wheels and outside of any space that would be utilized by the passenger compartment. The New Beetle being front engine an the motor and tranny needed to be pushed back to accommodate the slopping hood. The "Beetle" proportions are achieved by pushing the interior back from the A pillar, causing that odd deep dash and shrinking the rear seat. The result is a larger car with similar proportions to the original but no more interior space.

        When the original beetle was updated to the super beetle it received a McPherson strut suspension and a curved windshield. Maybe the revision will go back to torsion bars and a flat windshield.
      • 5 Years Ago
      haha it looks like the photo op was in front of an Applebee's
      • 5 Years Ago
      About time. Great for infants and toddlers, not so sure about loss of virginity, but not good for adults more conventionally inclined, especially those over 5' tall, or those with legs.

      The roofline of the New Beetle is all wrong. Too much "cab forward", too little driving experience. I mean, the first generation had a sun visor perfect for the windscreen, but which only barely extended beyond the A pillar in the sideways position. Totally useless.

      Maybe they could truly reincarnate the Beetle with a tweaked version of the MR layout in that 2 seater TDI thing they were touting a while back. Kinda obvious how I want it tweaked...

      Alternatively, just stick with the Golf platform, and shift the arc of the roofline back more in line with the original Hitler-penned design. It makes much more sense that way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, for a long time, it was believed that Hitler sketched out the plan elevation of the oval shape with four similarly rounded mudguards, and told Porsche to run with it.

        What actually happened is that a guy called Josef Ganz designed the thing at least ten years before Hitler saw it, and had tried and tried to sell his "Volkswagen Maikäfer" (VW May Beetle). The regime took his design and arrested him on trumped up charges. Yeah, he was a Jew.

        I was kinda hoping someone would google it and "discover" the truth to counter my facetiousness.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm probably in the minority, but I think the next Beetle should actually be smaller-along the lines of the original Beetle-so that it would be more of a head-on competitor to the Mini and the upcoming Fiat 500.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree. The current one, although still charming, is too much of function-follows-retro- trendy-form, and is actually quite large for what it is. The less than ideal space utilization is a side effect of forcing a very gestural concept onto production architecture.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Technically, the current New Beetle is the same size as the old one...both about 160.5" long overall. The new one just has 3.4" more wheelbase.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I lost my virginity in the back of a '99. Just move both front seats forward and there was enough room for certain recreational activities.

      Headroom was lacking, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was selling VW when they were announced. We had endless people coming and requesting more info. Finally the car arrived, and we had long waiting lists and baby boomers who spent as much time as we could spare, talking about their memories of their first Beetle. We would place one in the showroom, lock the doors so it wouldn't get trashed, and run away so we could spend time with other customers.

      I won't deny it made me more money than any other VW, but I couldn't help but feel that a Golf would have served most folks better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "zamafir
      10:20PM (10/12/2009)
      why care? they've done nothing to it and they're still selling more bettles each month than passats and golf variants combined. Actually... considering VW's selling a crap load of them, this quote:

      "sales have steadily dropped down to near nothingness"

      is a little concerning. if selling more than all the golf and passat variants combined is 'near nothing' i'm a little concerned at autoblog's understanding of math and ability to generalize.

      Last month:

      Total
      New
      Beetle 1,660
      Total
      Rabbit
      /GTI/
      R32 548
      Total
      Passat 664

      So yes, color me concerned, outselling vw's entire golf and passat lineup without even blinking and it's near nothing... eep.. where's that place the passat and golf?"

      Zamfir, this is the same group that thinks 20,000 cars is a great production run if it's their favorite car. True captains of industry.....

      1,660 x 12=19,920 in a down economy.




      • 5 Years Ago
      That's the problem with retro designs. What's the new-new one going to look like. Look at the second gen 07 Mini vs. the 02 model. How is Dodge going to update the Challenger?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's the problem with USA mentality. We think everything has to be "NEW" to be better. Timeless designs are simply that, TIMELESS. Great designs do not need to be updated.

        Take the Porsche 911 for instance. It has been merely smoothed out over it's life. The life spans of most American autos are design disasters in regards to their continuity. The Mustang history consists of about 10 COMPLETELY DIFFERENT car design. Same for the Corvette, Thunderbird and on and on. There are so many fabulously beautiful designs that have been thrown by the wayside for the "NEW".

        The Beetle design is practically flawless. The problem VW has is that the exterior design is only 1/3 of the greatness of the original Type-1... which equals failure. The original design represented A LOT TO BE DESIRED. The current Beetle is not easy to maintain (by that I mean owner-maintainable) and is not at all mod-able (modified to one's personal taste). It's not even half as fun or cool as the original. It's simply a Golf that looks like a Beetle (which equals failure).

        If "the German automaker has returned to its roots of building cars for the people" they will make their New-fangled Beetle easily owner-maintainable, reliable and mod-able to-no-end (which means they'll have to kill their current extreme hostility towards 3rd party after market mod companies). It will be A LOT LIGHTER and more nimble. It'll be fun and cool and everything the current "NEW" Beetle is not. Until till then good-luck VW.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What you say is true, but as a MINI owner (an '05), and knowing that non-MINI owners can't tell a 1st Gen apart from a 2nd Gen, it's certainly good for resale values. The fact that the exterior scarcely changes makes the older ones more desirable to the general public than they otherwise would be, but as you say, it's a challenge for the designers.

        In the case of the MINI, it's packed with the latest technology, so it's hardly retro on the inside (which was a selling point for me).

        It's really not helpful to compare the MINI Cooper to the New Beetle. The comparison begins and ends at "retro". The Beetle is all about style, but the MINI is 20% style, 80% substance.
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