Volkswagen Unveils New Manlier Beetle

Volkswagen showed off its new more masculine Beetle Monday. The vehicle has been reconfigured to make it a little less of a cute bug and more of a sports car.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

Now, in automotive icon is getting a makeover. There's a new Volkswagen Beetle. The new one is not quite as sweet as Herbie the Love Bug.

As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, VW executives would probably prefer if you called it a Love Machine.

SONARI GLINTON: You can tell a lot about the image carmakers want to project by listening to the music they play before they launch a product.

(Soundbite of song, "Like a G6")

FAR EAST MOVEMENT (Hip-hop, pop band): (Singing) ...at my table getting wild. Get them bottles popping, we get that drip and that drop...

GLINTON: When the DJ was spinning he played a lot of hip-hop. Female stars, though, were noticeably absent from the set list. He played Jay-Z but not Beyonce. Thats because Volkswagen has a goal.

Mr. KLAUS BISHOFF (Car designer): We wanted to - the to car to be much more dynamic, sporty and masculine.

GLINTON: That's Klaus Bishoff, a Beetle designer. Key word in that sentence -masculine. When Bishoff described the car, he used words like...

Mr. BISHOFF: Its much more strong and solid.

GLINTON: The new Beetle is lower to ground. It's longer, faster and...

Mr. BISHOFF: Please note the huge rims. We put much bigger wheels.

GLINTON: Key words there huge rims. The new car has no flower holder; it comes in black, red and white - no pastels.

Why this emphasis on masculinity? Well, according to TrueCars.com, more than 60 percent of the old Beetle buyers were women. Apparently, the flower holder was keeping some men from buying the cars.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News New York.

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