Edmunds' InsideLine.com Drives Highly Anticipated 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, Finds Classic Approach in Latest Redesign
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — July 18, 2011 — The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle dials down the "cuteness factor" and replaces it with authenticity and attitude, reports Edmunds' InsideLine.com, the premiere online resource for automotive enthusiasts.
The Beetle redesign comes at a time when sales of the later model, officially named the "New Beetle" by Volkswagen, have virtually bottomed out. Last year, the New Beetle accounted for just 6.4 percent of all Volkswagen sales in the U.S., down from its peak of 26.4 percent in 1999. The New Beetle has also faded from the general subcompact vehicle conversation, placing 10th among all models in the segment last year -- a steep fall from its perch at the top of the segment in 2003.
Edmunds.com Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds just returned from an invitation-only test drive opportunity for the Beetle in Germany and reported that the 2012 Beetle reaches all the way back to the original model for its design inspiration, doing away with the Astrodome roofline and front-to-rear symmetry that was characteristic of the New Beetle that was first introduced in the late-90s.
"The prevailing wisdom for carmakers today favors more authenticity and toughness," said Mr. Edmunds. "The New Beetle's cuteness worked for them for a while, but 13 years is a long time without a makeover. This new incarnation has a more manly feel, but women will still like it."
The 2012 model's deliberate shift to a sportier design is expected to make a play for a larger share of male drivers. According to data provided by R. L. Polk & Co., New Beetle purchases have skewed toward women. Last year, 61 percent of all New Beetles were registered to female owners.
Edmunds reports that the test vehicle "scoots along nicely" with the turbo engine guided by the 6-speed DSG automated manual transmission, which will be welcome news for Beetle aficionados. According to Edmunds.com's analysis of vehicle complaints to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the majority of complaints for the New Beetle were for powertrain issues, many of which reported that the vehicle did not seem to shift properly. The New Beetle has received about twice as many complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold than the industry average. For more Edmunds.com analysis of NHTSA's vehicle complaints data, please visit the Data Center at http://www.autoobserver.com/car-data-center/safety/edmundscom-nhtsa-complaints/.
For the full review of Edmunds.com's first drive of the 2012 VW Beetle, please visit Edmunds' InsideLine.com at http://www.insideline.com/volkswagen/beetle/2012/2012-volkswagen-beetle-2-0t-turbo-first-drive.html.
A general overview of pricing and specs for the 2012 Beetle is available on Edmunds.com at http://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/beetle/2012/.
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Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.