It’s amazing what a sex change can do for car brand.
The Volkswagen Beetle, along with the Mazda (Miata) MX-5 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK, have been considered by mainstream male buyers as “women’s cars.” Men forced to drive any of these vehicles—or even worse, actually admit they’re the owner—usually reply in the same tone used by boyfriends or husbands caught buying feminine hygiene products.
Volkswagen would have none of that. The German automaker, with its quest to double car sales by 2018, wouldn’t allow half the human species to avoid one of its iconic vehicles like prepubescent boys yelling, “Cooties! She’s got cooties!” So VW engineers dropped the “new” in the previous-generation New Volkswagen Beetle, enlarged elongated the hood, and modernized the interior (i.e., no more flower vase on the dashboard.) Volkswagen also teamed up with Microsoft’s Xbox division to promote the Beetle (men love games) as well as emphasize the car’s optional turbo engine. (men love power).
The result? Since September of 2011, male buyers of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has jumped nearly 30 percent since the same time in 2010. Gender parity was reached in December 2011 when men composed half of VW Beetle buyers.
How does the so-called “fairer” sex feel about this injection of testosterone in “their” vehicle? Unsurprisingly, no problem at all. Says industry analyst Jessica Caldwell, “Girls don’t mind driving masculine cars; I don’t think it works the other way around.”
Automotive.com’s take: We’re quite secure in our masculinity and have no problem with the Volkswagen Beetle, New or, well, new. Now, who’s driving it tonight? Anyone?