With shoots of Ferry Porsche, new Beetle generates a big smile at VW

Enthusiasts have been comparing the profiles of the redesigned 2012 VW Beetle to the Audi TT and Porsche 911 for months.

And Volkswagen executives are grinning about the comparison.

"The genes of Ferry Porsche are in all the cars," Rainer Michel, vice president of product marketing and strategy for Volkswagen of America, said this week.

If the new Beetle resembles its more expensive and more successful brothers, it "is a good thing," Michel said at a dinner in Berlin on the eve of the Beetle's international press drive.

Since the Beetle debuted in April in Shanghai, Berlin and New York, VW executives have insisted the new design is more masculine and marks a return to the more iconic shape of the original Beetle.

Translation: It will no longer be a "chick car" driven by middle-aged women and will enjoy wider appeal in other markets. The last Beetle -- produced from 1998 to 2010 -- was largely an American car. The U.S. market accounted for 72 percent of global sales.

All in the family: the Porsche 911, top, Audi TT and new VW Beetle.

The first Beetle was designed by Porsche -- the company founded by Ferdinand Porsche.

His grandson, Ferdinand 'Butzi' Alexander Porsche, designed the 911. Ferdinand Piech, supervisory board chairman of the Volkswagen Group, is the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche and was once head of technical development for Audi, a VW Group brand.

And if that isn't enough of a family web, Walter de' Silva, head of Volkswagen Group design, used to run Audi's design department and oversaw the development of the Audi TT.

And all of this brings us back to the 2012 Beetle's styling.

VW is convinced the new Beetle will shift the car's U.S. demographic profile from 65 percent female buyers to 59 percent male.

And what's going to draw all those alpha males to the new Beetle?

VW is counting on an optional turbo engine, larger wheels, a lower stance and longer hood line, as well as a bigger footprint (The new Beetle is 6 inches longer and 3 inches wider than its predecessor.)

And don't expect to see it offered in lipstick pink.

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