Volkswagen kicked off its Das Auto branding showcase this evening with the launch of the all new Beetle. At the moment, there is only one engine option, a 1.2-litre TSI (105PS) paired to a 7-speed DSG dual clutch transmission. It's the same powertrain shared by the Polo Sport.
Volkswagen Group Malaysia (VGM) Managing Director Mr Ricky Tay said, “The Beetle was first seen on Malaysian roads back in the 50s and it soon became a popular choice among households. Malaysia and the Beetle have evolved together. The car is still a favourite among classic car enthusiasts and Beetle fans in the country.
“The last few months have seen us speak to numerous followers of the brand and the car, and we know that the Beetle is still a favourite among people. It is a car that transcends gender, class and background to become a favourite among people, thanks to its timeless shape and consistently evolving technology. The Beetle is truly the people’s car.
“An icon of popular culture, The Beetle underscores the very philosophy of the Volkswagen brand. It is only fitting that we launch this icon at a show like the Volkswagen.Das Auto. Show. We hope that patrons of the Volkswagen.Das Auto. Show 2012 will enjoy getting to know their favourite car as much as we have enjoyed bringing the experience to them,” Mr Ricky Tay further explained.
Wei Ming Soh, head of commercial operations for greater China and ASEAN said, "The Beetle is our heart and blood. It represents where we came from and where we are going next."
The Volkswagen Das Auto Show is open to the public from tomorrow September-8 until September-9 at the KL Convention Center.
While the previous Beetle, also known as the 'New Beetle', sold rather well in the US, it was too closely associated as a women's car and the problem is that women themselves are not too keen on overly feminine looking cars.
The relatively wider acceptance of the MINI and Fiat 500, two other very successful retro car, versus the New Beetle, is a strong indicator of the need for the all new Beetle to adopt a more gender neutral design direction.
As such, the 2012 Beetle adopts a more athletic stance, it is now wider and lower.
Exterior dimensions are now 1,808mm wide (84mm wider than the model it replaces), 1,486mm tall (12mm lower) and 4,278mm long (152mm longer). Wheelbase is 2,537mm, 22mm longer than the previous model.
Inside, gone is the feminine flower vase. The dashboard is body-coloured, another throw back of the original Beetle.
Sharp eyed readers will note that the Saturn Yellow model shown here has a slightly different specifications - this is a 2.0-litre TSI model with LED daytime running light strips, black wing mirrors, black dashboard and a sunroof. Under the car is a different multi-link rear suspension (versus torsion beam in the standard 1.2 TSI model).
At the moment, this model is not yet available but will coming at a later stage.
The Beetle is imported from Mexico, which is the global hub for this model.
According to Ricky Tay, total number of orders collected prior to the Beetle's launch has already exceeded VGM's allocation for this year and the company is working hard to obtain a higher allocation for Malaysia.
It is also because of this tight supply that VGM is unable to provide a sales target for the Beetle.