Volkswagen is having some success in attracting more males to buy the VW Beetle. Since 1998 when the Beetle was brought back to showrooms, the automaker has had a difficult time of having a more balanced consumer base. The Beetle had been designed for the common man but inadvertently, this model placed doubts on the driver’s masculinity.
This is why VW redesigned the new version of the two-door last year to have a more angular, sporty look to attract more male buyers. In the new TV ads, a guy driving a Beetle gets a high-five from a gorgeous woman as well as a fist-bump from a dude on a motorcycle.
Volkswagen is aiming for its sales to double by 2018 and it won’t be a good idea for it to alienate half of the population for its halo model. Jessica Caldwell, an industry analyst with Edmunds.com, said that girls don’t mind driving masculine cars but not vice-versa. She said that many guys aren’t comfortable in driving a car that’s regarded as a “chick’s car.”
Since the new version started selling last September, males made up 43% of buyers in the U.S., about 29% higher than the previous year. Among the marketing efforts of VW for the redesigned model are a tie-in with Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox video-game console and an emphasis on the Beetle’s optional turbo power.
Tim Mahoney, VW's chief product and marketing officer in the U.S., said that VW aims to “potentially attract a more-balanced buyer group." Edmunds said that in December, about 50% of Beetle buyers were males, 36% higher than the prior year.
Volkswagen Beetle’s design is the world’s most recognizable automotive design. So how does one reinvent it? One clear answer is to first understand the brand and the product. Head of Volkswagen Group Design Walter de Silva and Volkswagen Brand Design Chief Klaus Bischoff both "understand" these and have therefore set "Design a new original" as the main objective for the new Beetle.
The VW design team started the task of reinventing the Beetle under Bischoff’s guidance. Designing a new Beetle was an inspiring challenge. The designers wanted to develop the original Beetle’s profile more than that of the 1998 New Beetle. Moreover, they highly prioritized dynamic proportions. And the fact that several team members actually have their very own air-cooled Beetles was an interesting aspect of the design process. What’s more, the Beetle has become a cult car among the company’s younger designers.
That is basically how the 2011 Beetle’s final design came to be. It is a present-day car and, at the same time, a design tribute to an entire corporate group’s automotive seed. The new 2011 Beetle’s design is truly unmistakable, too. If you place the original and the new Beetles side by side and you look at their profiles, you would see that their respective rear lines are almost identical.
Despite the similarities, the new design is bolder, more masculine, and more dynamic. A comparison to the 1998 Beetle shows that nothing else remained from the old car. It is now characterized by a clean, dominant, and self-confident sportiness. And not only does the new car have a lower profile, but it’s also substantially wider, its front bonnet is longer, its front windscreen has been shifted further back, and it has a steeper incline. All these create a new dynamism for the car, Bischoff says. While the 1998 Beetle was defined by 3 semi-circles (its front wing, its rear wing, and its domed roof), the 2011 model broke free of this geometry.