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."

Live photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      whatever02194
      • 3 Years Ago
      Count me in the 40% of males who bought a New Beetle. Of course, I bought it for my daughter. I think the actual F/M split was more like 90/10.
      S40Powered
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally this was designed by the 70's bug. The rear end, the roofline and obviously VW continued with the last generation Bettle, nothing wrong with that, because this one looks better.
      kcroc10077
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like this Beetle. The last one was definitely designed with females in mind (nothing wrong with that per se). Why else would you put a vase in the middle of the dash. This Beetle is more aggressive and the R version should be a hoot. Would I pony up $30 large for it.... probably not.
      guinnessfanatic
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's exactly like the original beetle, except in every possible mechanical way.
      Steven W. Diffy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I got to say, the car looks happy. It has a big smile on its face! Good job VW. You even have the correct shade of white. The car I enjoyed life most in was a 1970 Beetle with dual port heads, flared fenders, Kragar mags, and a custom paint job in fleetwood mack diesel white. My friends said it looked like a tank rolling up. I could beat anything in that car at the time from telephone pole to telephone pole. I would love to have one of the new ones. But the economy and the time I am at in life prevents me from spending that much money right now. Got TO STICK WITH THE echo
      LMI500
      • 3 Years Ago
      What is wrong with? Why did the new Jetta turn out to be a bland boring pile of crap and the Beetle looks wayyy better?!
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Obviously they never bothered to look where the engine was when they "went back to the original and did a design based on that"
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        [blocked]
      Mike Gaudiello
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The last car was about 60/40 female to male." LOL no effing way. Maybe 40% of the BUYERS were male, but I don't believe for a fraction of a second that 40% of the primary drivers were men.
      Basil Exposition
      • 3 Years Ago
      Saying this car is true to the original is an insult to the original.
      rllama
      • 3 Years Ago
      step 1 to the 50/50 split would be not putting a flower vase in the dashboard.
      TexRob
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The last car was about 60/40 female to male." Maybe in San Francisco, definitely not the case anywhere I've been. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
        JackS
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TexRob
        The only Beetle driver I know is a male actually. The only female VW driver I know drives a Rabbit.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TexRob
        [blocked]
    • Load More Comments