- Now comes the beetle for the rough
- Sharp contradiction to the VW strategy
- Important model for the US market
- "The Beetle can afford more"
- Small motors are also available
Now comes the beetle for the rough
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The VW Beetle Dune is still a study, but the start of series production for 2016 is a done deal. Also the …
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… special rear rack for skis are retained in the production model, as is the …
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… brightly colored interior with the special handle for the front passenger. This handle says …
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… the English word dune, which means dune and on the …
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… refers to dune buggies from the 1960s. These dune beetles were open fun vehicles based on a VW Beetle. They are now extinct, also because St…be allowed to drive around the edges.
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And despite a five centimeter higher ground clearance, the Beetle Dune is not marketed as an off-road car, but should always have asphalt under the wheels. E.…In contrast, r wears …
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… not the nickname "Cross" for other VW models in the soft SUV style, and all-wheel drive is also not provided for the Beetle Dune.
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VW wants to offer a complete range of engines, from the 105 PS TDI to the 2.0 l TSI with 210 PS shown here.
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As a coupe, the Beetle Dune will cost around 21,000 euros, while the convertible version will cost 3000 euros more.
A VW Beetle as an SUV? Why not, today anything is possible with car manufacturers. But the Beetle Dune, which is coming in 2016, is not just a model political gimmick, it has an important task.
GYou have to be in a good mood, like in the commercial for the VW Beetle, in which there are lots of happy, young people sitting in the car heating around the area. The board of directors of the Wolfsburg-based company has ordered itself to be in an even better mood and has given the Beetle Dune a series release for the summer special model.
As a coupe and even more as a convertible, the dune beetle is supposed to be a reminder of the legendary buggies that conquered the beaches of the world from California 50 years ago, says Matthias Zeuner, who heads product marketing for the Beetle and hopes for one thing above all from the beach flea: "Good mood in all situations."
It’s already fun on the first trip, even if you’re on Sylt on the North Sea and not on the American Pacific coast. One can enjoy the attention that the chubby car is given and with growing pride register the envious glances of the Sylt snobs.
Sharp contradiction to the VW strategy
When you take a seat in the colorful cockpit, memories of California are awakened: the badly mended flagstone path at Lister Elbow feels, with a bit of imagination, like Highway Number 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The feeling of longing must have grabbed the board members when they were recently on the road again with the study and then gave the go-ahead for the project. The Beetle Dune stands in stark contrast to the strategy of VW boss Martin Winterkorn, who had questioned the range of models in the spring Able to develop and build our cars much faster, more flexibly and more economically than before. With them we can offer even more variety – and also implement niche models profitably. "
But at the same time, cars like the Eos, the Scirocco and the Sharan are on the brink for cost reasons: "Some niches are so small that it’s not worth it," says VW boss Winterkorn.
The fact that the dune makes it anyway is due to its shape. Because crossover models that combine different types of vehicle are in vogue. And there is no getting around the SUV anyway. As a Beetle for the rough, the Beetle serves both genres at the same time, which is why people in Wolfsburg trust it a lot.
Important model for the US market
The little one comes in very handy, Head of Development Heinz-Jakob Neuber. In the ailing American market, it has to offer customers many new products if VW wants to achieve the target of 800,000 annual registrations there by 2018. “The Americans simply have a different understanding of the so-called lifecycle of individual models than Europeans,” says Neuber.
While in Europe it is enough to thoroughly overhaul a car after three or four years with a so-called facelift and then replace it after a total of seven years, in America you have to initiate such impulses earlier and more frequently.
A car like the Beetle Dune is just the thing for that. It is a bit more complex than, for example, the cross model of a VW Polo, because the developers actually went to the structure with new bumpers including underride protection, wider track and five centimeters more ground clearance instead of just a few plastic planks on the sheet metal cardboard.
"But measured against a Scirocco or an Eos, the Beetle Dune is a cheap derivative," says Product Manager Zeuner. Especially since the engineers, for example, did without the all-wheel drive despite the off-road look and also omitted extras such as the luggage rack in the two rear spoilers, with which skis can be transported, the newly shaped bonnet with the distinctive nostrils or the large touchpad for navigation are.
"The Beetle can afford more"
Convincing the board of directors and gaining a few freedoms – that was obviously always a bit easier with the Beetle than with other models, Zeuner knows, and it sounds a bit like he has no fool’s freedom. "This car has a very special status in the company and can therefore afford a little more."
You can see that not least in the name, says the product manager: Where the adventure variants are usually presented with a “Cross”, the Beetle can also keep the “Dune” in series. Otherwise, the designers had more design freedom, were literally allowed to do things a little more colorful and change more parts. In the end, however, the customer pays the bill.
While a cross polo costs around 1500 euros more than the normal model, Zeuner estimates the extra charge for the Beetle Dune at around 3000 euros. The coupe should start at around 21,000 euros and the convertible at just under 24,000 euros.
Because the Beetle Dune is so close to the series even as a study, you don’t have to spare the individual piece during a test drive, unlike the previous design models from Wolfsburg. The summer beetle shouldn’t get rain, and the engineers don’t like to see sandpipers in the sand either.
Small motors are also available
But that the two-liter turbo has 210 hp under the knobbly hood, you can try that out. And get to know the other side of the beach buggy with a sprint value of 7.3 seconds and a maximum of 227 km / h. After all, these weren’t just fun cars, but also serious sports equipment that was used by tens of thousands to plow through the deserts of Baja California.
Perhaps better not in the sand and on the beach – but at least on the road, the Dune can boldly accelerate. But you don’t have to. “The dune should remain accessible to everyone,” says marketing man Zeuner. So there will be the niche model with all engine variants – if necessary with a 105 hp diesel.
It is true that customers now really had to wait long enough for a VW study that would also make it into series production. And if there hadn’t been a couple of show cars like the first Beetle Dune from 2000 or, most recently, a corresponding offshoot of the Up, you would probably have forgotten the buggies of yore.
But the test of patience is not over yet, Zeuner admits. Because at VW, even a comparatively simple derivative has to go through the entire test program. "Endurance run, hot country testing, winter test – we still need a little time for that," says Zeuner and has to put off the beach boys among the Beetle drivers until 2016. These are pretty high hurdles for a niche model.
The trip to the presentation of the Beetle Dune was supported by VW. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at www.axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit
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