So long to the New Beetle and its miserable 12-year run.
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The New Beetle never quite found its niche, or developed one. It wasn’t inexpensive, or easier to own than any other modern FWD car. Often, it was harder — due to reliability and quality control problems.
Cuteness and retro styling only take you so far… .
Over the years, I’ve owned several of the original Beetles, including a ‘73 Super Beetle. I never paid more than $1,500 for any of them and this was as recently as the early 1990s. They were ideal college cars/first-time-job cars — as old Beetles have always been, since before I was even born. The rugged little machine, conceived in the 1930s, survived the war, flowered along with Flower Power in the '60s, grooved into the '70s and even though the federal government legislated it out of existence (in the U.S., at least) after 1979 (due to emissions and safety regulations) it continued to be built right up to 2002 in Mexico — a production run that has never been equaled and probably never will be.
Only one car has sold more total units (the Toyota Corolla) and the comparison’s not really fair because the Corolla has had the benefit of an industrialized/westernized world market to play in while the VW had to slog through a cratered Germany/Western Europe after WWII and try to compete in a market (the U.S., 1950s and '60s) that laughed at small cars with four-cylinder engines.
In comparison, the New Beetle’s record is pitiful. Twelve years. The Thousand Year Reich lasted about as long as that. It is a blip on the screen relative to the lifetime-long run (almost 70 years, from say 1936 through 2002) of the old car — which would probably still be in production today if the government would allow it. Buyer demand never slackened; it was just that the fragile (1,600 pound) shell could not comply with modern crash-test demands and the ancient air-cooled engine wouldn’t pass smog check.
Ultimately, what sealed the doom of the New Beetle was that it was fundamentally fraudulent, It may have looked like the old car, but in every key category that made the old model so appealing, the new car was anything but. It was in fact just another expensive, complex, can’t-work-on-it-yourself front-wheel-drive not-so-economical “economy” car draped in the sort-of sheetmetal of the real deal.
It won’t be missed much, I suspect.
But the old Beetle will never be forgotten.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?