Volkswagen has unveiled a "sportier" and "more masculine" redesign of its iconic Beetle. The new look — just the third since the Bug was launched in 1938 — is meant to attract more male drivers. (See a photo of the new Beetle below.) Gone are the bubble-shaped roof and the flower vase in the dashboard, both added with the last major redesign in 1998. Those elements gave the Beetle a reputation as a "chick car." Last year, more than 60 percent of Beetle buyers in the U.S. were female, the most for any car model. Will the new design make guys think the Bug is manly?
Yes, the new Beetle has broader appeal: This new version is definitely "less girly," says Patricia Cancilla in the National Post. That will help increase the car's allure — and not just with men. The model that's being replaced "was cute as a button," but "I don't know any women over the age of 20" who actually bought one. This updated design "is still cute but more grown-up" — so "now, I might consider it."
"Preview: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle"
But Volkswagen's "manly" talk could turn off women: All this macho talk is kind of insulting, says Maressa Brown at The Stir. "It's almost as if VW is embarrassed that they had such a loyal female customer base." I wouldn't mind if VW wanted to make the car "a bit less feminine" in order to appeal to both genders, but touting the testosterone infusion so emphatically "makes me feel like steering clear of the 2012 model."
"New Volkswagen Beetle hates women drivers (video)"
Volkswagen has a lot riding on this: The carmaker has set an "audacious" goal of tripling its U.S. sales by 2018, says David Kiley at Aol Autos. Most analysts think that's a "fantasy." But if VW is going to have any chance of acheiving its target, it "needs another groundswell of interest in the Beetle" to help generate more sales for its other cars, too.
"The Volkswagen Beetle rides again"