Volkswagen sold about 5 million Beetles in the U.S. from 1949 to 1979, when VW stopped selling the car in the U.S.
Sales of the New Beetle, which debuted in 1998, rose to almost 93,000 in 2003. Sales from cars such as the Mini Cooper and Smart Fortwo also have eaten into sales.
Volkswagen North America CEO Jonathan Browning has told Autoblog, “We’re aiming to essentially go after the Mini so far as market positioning and price offerings.” The base Mini model starts at $20,100 and the line climbs from there. And most Minis you see, regardless of model, are optioned up much higher than the model’s starting price.
That means a price range from $20,000 to $24,000 when the coupe launches worldwide in late September, and between $25,000 and $29,000 for the 2013 convertible.
VW says it adopted the engine lineup straight from other small U.S. VWs, such as Golf and Jetta, because it believes those powerplants are competitive and “it saves a lot of money” vs. designing new engines, says Luca de Meo, head of global VW marketing.
The engine lineup:
• Base: 2.5-liter, five-cylinder gasoline vs. 1.8-liter four in last model. The engine is rated 170 hp, 177 lbs.-ft of torque. Expected mpg ratings: 22 city, 31 highway (manual transmission) 22/29 (automatic).
• Optional: 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated 200 hp, 207 lbs.-ft. Expected mpg ratings: 30 highway, others to be announced.
• Coming later as option: 2-liter turbo-diesel, 140 hp, 236 lbs.-ft. Mpg: 29/40/33.
The newest Beetle will launch in the U.S. market in September and October, in the European market in October and November, and in the Asian market in February 2012.