I very rarely come to the Car Lounge, but I thought I'd try to get other's takes on this topic. It would seem that the latest version of VW's Beetle could turn out to be a flop. It's not doing nearly as well as the New Beetle of 1998-2010.
Granted, the 2012s just came out, and when the first New Beetle was introduced in 1998, that was after the US went 19 years without a Beetle, so it sold like hotcakes in its first couple of model years. But...even after the fanfare of the first water-cooled Beetles wore off, they still managed to average around 30-35K US sales a year. In the end, something like 1.2 million New Beetles sold worldwide from 1998-2010.
Puebla is currently having production issues with 2012 Sunroof models and they are on backorder for months. Meanwhile, most buyers of the few Beetles that have been sold are going for the more expensive Turbo models, which leaves most of the base models sitting on lots .
In January, VW sold exactly 1401 Beetles in the US. They sold about 1500 in December. At this pace, the 2012 model will be lucky to see 20k units sold by year's end. Considering that the NBs of 98-10 did a lot better, this paints a scary picture for the future of water-cooled Bugs. If the 2900 or so Beetles that have been sold since December are inclusive of all the people who are experiencing back order issues, this means that sales numbers for this 2012 Beetle are pathetic.
A new, reskinned model of any make of car should be selling better than its predecessor, and with the 2012 Beetle, this is not happening. I always thought that eventually, water-cooled Beetles would become as iconic as the original air-cooled Bugs, and many people thought I was nuts for saying that. Well, as it turns out, they may have been right all along!
The question that comes to mind is this: Will VW keep soldiering on with a Beetle model if the 2012+ only sells half of what they did with the NBs of 98-10, or will it be killed again?
Is the water-cooled Beetle community an endangered species?