After Fiat was unable to create waves with its retro 500 in India, many of us were skeptical about the Beetle's chances here after we understood it was going to cost almost double the 500s price and had lesser chances of being seen and experienced through VW's minuscule sales network. Through the previous decades years many rich Indians have imported the original Beetle into India and several cars have undergone restoration.
But will the imports generate enough interest to keep the new Beetle alive in India? Does it have the popularity to find new buyers? Will today's buyer look at the Beetle as an option given its more than ten years old and is going out of production?
Volkswagen has also marketed the new Beetle very well. Especially the 'curves' advertisement was hilarious and the message was clear. I have seen plenty of attractive ads of on Times Of India. While driving to the airport the other day here in Chennai, I saw small vertical ad boards placed on the sidewalk for several kilometeres leading to it with images of the Beetle.
If you assess the performance of Nissan, Fiat and Volkswagen, it is the German who has been the most successful in both selling and benefiting from a brand image-building car in recent times. Both the Nissan 370Z and the Fiat 500 come behind the sterling Beetle, which despite costing close to 30 lakh rupees, has attracted the most number of buyers.
If you park the Beetle, Fiat 500 and the 370Z next to each other, the 370Z will grab the most eyeballs. It's a sports car, it looks fast and is the biggest and the most muscular of the three. The Fiat 500 put a smile on people's faces. It'll make you happy. It'll even make you write poetry. You will start saving after you've seen one. You don't have to flex too much to reach one.
The Volkswagen Beetle however will be the car out of this lot to get the most number of second looks. People who walk by it are bound to turn back after they've walked away seeming uninterested.
This assessment is purely imaginative. Which of the three would you pick if you had the choice?