2012 VW New Beetle on display in New York
2012 Volkswagen Beetle - Click above for high-res image gallery

Volkswagen made a big deal about having the original Beetle in the studio when the designers went to work on the 2012 Beetle, so at the 2011 New York Auto Show, we spoke to Rainer Michel, vice president of product marketing and strategy for VW of America, about why that decision was so important.

"What we did in '98 was the right car for that time," he said, "but this one is more true to the design of the original," a design philosophy that is apparent in items like the decreased rake of the A-pillar and the flattened line of the roof that descends further back and more cleanly into the bumper.

And Michel said that the next time they redesign the Beetle, they'll again return to the source. "We went back to the original and did a design based on that, and when we do the next one we'll go back to the original. Maybe we'll go in a different direction, but it comes from the original." The idea is that the third generation of the New Beetle won't be a redesign of the current car, it will be another modernized version of the original.

As to the increased masculinity of the 2012 Beetle, Michel said, "The last car was about 60/40 female to male." He intimated he'd be happy with a 50/50 split, but what was more important to him was getting away from that concern at all. "We wanted a car with good interior space, more shoulder room and head clearance, a car which accommodates passengers nicely and has a range of powertrains," he said. "The car shouldn't depend on any demographics."
Related Gallery2012 Volkswagen Beetle: New York 2011
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