Volkswagen has unveiled the brand new redesigned Beetle, a car that is a little less cute than its predecessor, with the hopes that it will appeal more to men.
According to a report from Yahoo! News, the 2012 Beetle, unveiled Monday at car shows in New York, Berlin and Shanghai, has "a flatter roof, a less bulbous shape, narrowed windows and a sharp crease along the side."
VW also decided to get rid of the flower vase next to the steering wheel. Most self-respecting men will not drive a car with a flower vase next to the steering wheel.
Also to draw in the men is an optional 200-horsepower, turbocharged engine. The base engine will be 2.5 liters turning out 170 horses. There is also a diesel option.
For all drivers, the Beetle will also feature a navigation system, a significantly larger trunk, more luxurious materials and ambient lighting.
"It ties in more with our other products. It's more upscale," said VW's lead Beetle project manager for the U.S., Andres Valbuena. The car will go on sale in the fall. No word yet on pricing.
This is the first major overhaul of the Beetle since it was reintroduced to a salivating U.S. public in 1998.
The Beetle became a cultural icon in the 1960s, with sales peaking at 200,000 in 1962. But sales dropped off, and the car was dropped in the U.S. in 1979.
The new Beetle was an instant hit, but after ten years it is time to freshen the design. VW faced the difficult task of tinkering with an icon.
"Every car manufacturer faces this when they do a facelift, but in the case of the Beetle, you've got something people feel fairly strongly about," said Larry Erickson, who led the successful redesign of the retro Ford Mustang six years ago.
Rebecca Lindland, director of strategic review at the consulting firm IHS Automotive, said "It is an iconic vehicle. It represents, for most Americans, a very positive image."
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