Now that Porsche has their hands on VW there are some mighty motivated execs looking to redesign the most iconic car in the VW line. It seems there intention is to make a line-up based on the Beetle’s good name that could involve another convertible, a small crossover vehicle, a truck model and a modern restyle of the 2-door. But what they are toying with could be something close to sacrilege. When you are manipulating the lines of a car that has over 70 years of history and only two designs that are not that dissimilar in shape some delicacy is required.
The original VW Beetle began production in 1938 and was built with relatively few changes up until 2003. That was the year the last manufacturing plant that was still producing the original bug quit production in Puebla, Mexico. To this day much of South America is still crawling with Bugs with many of them serving as Taxi’s and delivery cars.
The modern redesign of the Beetle was first introduced as a concept in 2004 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The final product was unveiled in 1998 with an array of unique paint schemes; including a heat sensitive paint job that changed colors when warmed by the touch (based off those sadly popular T-shirts of that time). Another paint scheme was a paisley design that brought to me immeasurable amusement.
While the current design of the Beetle will be reaching its 10th birthday this coming year and is logically due for a re-touch for the modern shopper, a total reworking of the tradition would be a bold, if not suicidal, move. If Porsche/VW wants to broaden the appeal of the Beetle away from just being a “chick car” then that would certainly be advisable.
Bold moves are made by Bold individuals… and Bold individuals are 50% hero and 50% heel. We shall see which 50% will be involved in the reshaping of the iconic VW Beetle.