Volkswagen to unveil new Beetle

New Delhi: German carmaker Volkswagen AG is showcasing the new version of its legendary car Beetle in India. It is the new version of the Beetle that is going to be exhibited in India at the forthcoming Auto Expo in January 2006, since the original Beetle was discontinued some years ago.

However, sources say that the German automaker has no plans to launch the car in India but would cater to those who wish to import the car. The India importer-distributor of the car, Anita Kashyap, said, "We will be using the New Beetle only for display. We have no immediate plans to launch the model in India."

According to the sources, the 2006 New Beetle will come with a more powerful new 2.5-litre, 5-cylinder engine that produces 150hp. The styling changes for New Beetle have bolder, sharper bodylines, especially at the wheel wells and bumpers.

In 1994 the new Beetle was born when Volkswagen unveiled the "Concept 1", a concept car with futuristic styling that reminded people of of the original Beetle''s rounded shape. The overwhelming response led the company to bring the the car into production. In 1998, the company launched the New Beetle designed by Mays and Freeman Thomas.

The new Beetle is a modern car in every sense and has little relation to the original Beetle except for its name and its rounded shape. It is also among the safest cars on the road with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US giving it the best safety rating in its class at the time of its launch.