In 12 years, VW has built 1.2 million units of the New Beetle, with the U.S. being the single largest—and therefore most important—market. Not bad for a compact car that started out as a designer’s crazy dream. Conceived in 1994 as the Concept 1 by J Mays and his team in VW’s California design studio, it drew such enthusiasm that Ferdinand Piëch decided to push for a production version. In 1998, the New Beetle was launched at the Detroit auto show. Its boxy, yellow press kit contained a flower vase, which was to become the trademark of the Beetle’s interior. The car was as cheerful as VW’s dealers, who finally had a car delivered to their lots that they could sell for way over sticker.
VW has decided to jump-start the faithful and do a second edition. Lovers of the cutesy compact can expect the entirely new, redesigned New Beetle to be launched next spring and appear at dealers in the summer of 2011 as a 2012 model—the U.S. market will be served first. Beetle production will continue to take place at VW’s Puebla, Mexico, plant, alongside the