Production of Volkswagen’s new Beetle has officially begun in Puebla, Mexico. The company’s factory in Mexico was visited by Hubert Waltl, Board Member for Production and Logistics at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand; Dr. Guido Westerwelle, the Federal Foreign Minister; and Felipe Calderón, the Mexican President.
The Beetle was a huge success in the USA in particular. This is where the mobility icon from Wolfsburg had sales that reached nearly five million units for the period between 1949 and 1981.
The new vehicle took up the thread of this Beetle Mania, with a total of 1.15 million vehicles manufactured in Puebla selling between 1997 and 2010. The latest Beetle celebrated its global premiere in April 2011 and it will be in dealers’ showrooms in Germany beginning this fall.
The factory in Puebla is the biggest vehicle plant in Mexico. It is also one of the biggest automobile manufacturing facilities of the Volkswagen Group. It provides the new Jetta volume model to South and North America and Europe.
The GolfVariant and Beetle are manufactured exclusively by Volkswagen de México for international markets. In 2010, the plant manufactured some 435,000 units. It also manufactures engines for the American continent. With a workforce of more than 15,000 employees, the plant is also one of the Mexican industry’s biggest employers.
Volkswagen built one of the world’s most successful and loved cars of all time. And because it did not give the car a name, people had to do it for them. People all around the world, in fact, gave it a name based on what it looked like: Beetle, Coccinelle, Käfer, Fusca, Vocho, 甲壳虫, or Maggiolino.
Volkswagen sold 21.5 million Beetles during that time. Then came the late 1990s and the new Beetle was launched, and along it, Beetle Mania began. The New Beetle series was completed in 2010 with the launch of the Final Edition. All in all, the German carmaker sold more than a million of the New Beetle cars.
The year 2012 saw a new generation of Beetles being introduced in markets the world over. This time, Volkswagen did not spare anything and planned a grand simultaneous launch in three major cities: Berlin, New York and Shanghai.
High-tech and Environmentally Sound
The Volkswagen Beetle, as you can see, has a rich history. And to move forward into the future, the carmaker needed someone who knows its story to help shape the new generation Beetle into reality. Volkswagen engineers know that they had one clearly defined task ahead: develop a top-of-the-line car with the use of technology that is cost efficient.
The engineers, the same ones who developed the Volkswagen Golf GTI, focused on fun driving dynamics while also making use of the latest communication technologies. All of these made the new generation Volkswagen Beetle a highly dynamic and agile car.
The new Beetle also topped fuel efficiency ratings and was the most fuel-efficient of all Beetles. With ratings of 33 miles per gallon for the American 2.0 TDI and 4.3 liters for every 100 kilometers for the European 1.6 TDI, there was no stopping the new Volkswagen Beetle from becoming the most fuel- efficient Beetle since it was introduced.
No previous Beetle was this fuel efficient. High performance no longer suffices by itself: At 4.3 l/100 km (European 1.6 TDI) and 33 mpg (American 2.0 TDI), the new Volkswagen Beetle is the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever.
The Beetle had the most unique and distinct design in the world for all time. How could you reinvent a design that is so iconic, independent and recognizable? Volkswagen had to bring in its design chief Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff to the design table and they helped translate the car’s branding and characteristics into a design philosophy. Bischoff and de Silva aimed to "Design a new original."
Bischoff guided the carmaker’s design team to come up with an inspiring design for the new Beetle. They took their cue from the 1998 New Beetle and made dynamic proportions very evident in the 2011 design. By this time, most of the young designers at Volkswagen owned their own Beetle and that helped in shaping the new design.
The end result is a visual tribute to the first generation Beetle, mixed with modern touches that reflect the values of the company. The new Beetle has the same lines at the back as the first Beetle.
The new Beetle, however, is bolder, more masculine and more dynamic. It has a lower profile than the 1998 Beetle and it now sports a self-confident and unmistakable sportiness. The new Beetle is also wider and features a longer front bonnet. The front windshield has been moved further backwards and has an interesting sharp slope.
Klaus Bischoff explains that these design choices make the new Beetle even more dynamic. The 1998 Beetle has three unmistakable semi circles coming from the domed roof, the front and rear wings. Meanwhile, the latest Beetle does not have these three rings and instead takes after the Ragster concept car, which was unveiled in 2005.
The latest generation of Beetles measures 1,808 millimeter wide, 1,486 millimeter tall, and 4,278 millimeter long. That is 84 millimeters wider, 12 millimeters lower and 152 millimeters longer than its predecessor. The new proportions also give rise to an extended roof while keeping the rear section in line with the original Beetle’s contour.