Volkswagen, the world's largest carmaker by volume launched its New Beetle for the Indian market in Mumbai on Thursday. The little beetle, with its famously 'ugly' shape and sturdy reliable engine, was the 'Model T' of the '60s and early '70s. Now, it is priced at Rs20,45,000 ex-showroom Delhi.
As 'retro' rarely goes out of fashion, the New Beetle – which has already registered considerable success in Europe – retains the squat, rounded and apparently un-aerodynamic shape of the original, but of course with vastly upgraded technology and features. It will be powered by a 2000cc engine coupled with six-speed automatic transmission.
"The Beetle is the very first Volkswagen car people remember, with its unique shape and reliability. We are excited to bring this iconic Beetle to India after its success across the world for decades," Volkswagen's Passenger Cars member of the board and director Neeraj Garg told reporters.
The car would be imported from the German carmaker's Mexico plant as a completely built unit, he said. This of course means that the government's outrageous import duty of around 200 per cent will apply.
The company has 150 confirmed bookings for the New Beetle and deliveries would start immediately, Garg said.
Pulling off a bit of a surprise for the media, Volkswagen also launched the Touareg, its popular sports utility vehicle, which was earlier available only on order.
Now it would be stocked in India and hence readily available, Garg said. The Touareg is priced at Rs51.85 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.