Volkswagen India will showcase the 21st century Beetle premium hatchback at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. The company will focus on fuel efficient cars as a part of their ‘Think Blue’ campaign introduced this year with the launch of Passat premium sedan.
“The Auto Expo is one of the best platforms to showcase our latest and best to the Indian automobile enthusiasts and we are confident that the 21st century Beetle will be a cynosure of every visitor at the Pragati Maidan (Delhi Auto Expo venue)”, Neeraj Garg, Member of Board, Director Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India was quoted as saying in an official press release.
In April 2011, the 21st century Beetle was launched in Shanghai (China), Berlin (Germany) and in New York City (United States of America) simultaneously. We expected Volkswagen to launch the new Beetle in India soon after its international launch. However, the company seems to be only unveiling the car at the Delhi Auto Expo and may launch it in the second half of 2012. Let’s see what the new Beetle will have to offer Indian buyers!
Looks and comfort
Volkswagen has used the Golf IV platform to build the new Beetle. The new Beetle is different from the previous model in terms of dimensions. To be precise, the new model is 152 mm longer, 84 mm wider and 12 mm shorter in height than its predecessor.
Despite the new dimensions, Volkswagen’s designers have made significant design changes to the new Beetle. Yet they have managed to retain the Beetle’s age old DNA as the front bumper & air inlet, the rear lights styling and the overall body shape is still unmistakably a Beetle. The typical round headlights of the Beetle now include optional bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
The interiors are ergonomically designed with attention to detail. To add a classic touch to the iconic car, the 2012 model comes with a dashboard layout that resembles the original model. The flat bottomed 3-spoke steering wheels have been specially designed for the Beetle. The longer wheelbase and redesigned roof has helped in improving head room for rear seat occupants. The boot space too has increased and can now hold 310 litres of luggage as against the older model’s 209 litre boot.
Overall, the new Beetle is an attractively designed car that maintains the rich heritage of the series and offers better interior space.
In Indian market Volkswagen will likely offer the Beetle powered by a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine which churns out 158 bhp of maximum power and returns a claimed mileage of 18.18 kmpl. There are speculations that the company may also offer the Beetle powered by a diesel motor in the later stages. In the international market, the Beetle diesel is powered by a 1.6-litre TDI motor that puts out 105 bhp of power and returns a claimed mileage of 22.22 kmpl.
The new Beetle comes with features such as a multi-function steering wheel, climate control, tire pressure monitor, audio system with surround sound speakers, an RNS 315 touch screen navigation system, Bluetooth, iPod dock, keyless entry, sliding seats for easy rear seat access, height adjustable front seats, sunroof and cruise control. With regard to safety, the new Beetle comes with four airbags, ABS, Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS) and Electronic stability control.
In India, the new Volkswagen Beetle will be a direct CBU import and will attract 110% excise duty. At present, the present model is sold at Rs. 24 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Owing to the changes and features added in the new model, expect the new Beetle to be priced around Rs. 25 lakh.
In the Indian market there are two contenders in the premium small car segment (above Rs. 20 lakh) the iconic the Fiat 500 and the celebrated Volkswagen Beetle. But, this segment will further grow as BMW will launch the MINI brand’s Cooper, convertible and Countryman models in January 2012.
While the Fiat 500 hasn’t had any success, the sales of the Beetle in India, have surpassed Volkswagen’s expectations. Volkswagen Beetle sales stood at 124 units during January – November 2011. With the introduction of cars like the Mini Cooper at around same price (Rs. 25 lakh), will the new Beetle sales be affected? Only time will tell!