No bowing to Volkswagen Beetlemania
As a diehard classic Beetle enthusiast and owner, I couldn’t be more pleased that the name won’t be returning any time soon. That’s in part because it means Volkswagen won’t come in for the inevitable social media firestorm that always meets such revivals, but it’s also a relief because tapping into the spirit of the original Beetle would be all but impossible in the modern era.
The MEB platform would at least allow for a new-age Beetle to be vaguely authentic in its conception: rear-wheel drive, flat floor, boot at the front etc. But Beetle is a name associated with utter no-frills family motoring, intrinsically linked with connotations of durability and dependability and, above all, charm.
It’s hard to imagine any modern-era electric car adhering rigidly to those same values. Look at the Fiat 500 and Mini Electric: these are luxury products that nod only loosely to their 1950s forebears, and while they are remarkably well engineered and easy on the eye, it’s their abandonment of the utilitarian principles that underpinned the diddy originals that has won them such acclaim.