VW Beetle To Get Another Makeover

08/19/2011 10:39 AM ET

Back in the day, once dubbed the "peoples car" the VW Beetle was an uncomfortable albeit cheap means of transportation, but now the German auto maker plans on making an improvement over its already greatly improved second generation models.

The new car, named Bug for short, will have a longer wheelbase than the current which allows more room for the rear cabin. Volkswagen will reshape the Beetle with few changes to its exterior and interior. To give it a flamboyant and sporty look, the windscreen is more swept-back with a flatter roof line, the rear window and hatch are more arched.

Although the front, the nose of the Beetle is still the original but the headlights, grille and other details are of a higher quality than the earlier one.

Designers have planned cautiously, reviving the car's classic details, such as the "kaeferbach," or second glove box, while struggling to avoid being accused of being too retro, a dreaded label in the auto industry these days.

The challenge was coming up with a new design that could broaden the Beetle's appeal, both by drawing more men to the car and by expanding the global market.

Designers carefully examined the original Beetle and took from it the more sporty cues penned by Porsche three-quarters of a century ago.

The Beetle first went into production in 1938, with the newest model set to be released in 2012. Like its contemporaries, the Mini, the Citroen 2CV, and the Fiat 500, the Beetle has long outlasted predictions of its lifespan. It has been regarded as something of a "cult" car since its 1960s association with the hippie movement and surf culture; and the obvious attributes of its unique and quirky design. For example, the Beetle could float on water thanks to its sealed floor pans and overall tight construction, as shown in a 1972 Volkswagen commercial. No indications show the latest model will float.

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