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2012 Beetle to go to all in Oprah's audience

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2012 Beetle to go to all in Oprah's audience

Giveaway helps VW make a splash with sportier model



Talk-show maven Oprah Winfrey did it again Monday, presenting a free car to everyone in the audience for her TV show. Some 275 people will each get a 2012 VW Beetle when the new car goes on sale next fall.

The new model won't be revealed until next spring. Oprah's audience was shown a silhouette of the new car alongside a current model. VW designed the 2012 Beetle to modernize the car's iconic shape.

Oprah previously gave Pontiac G6 midsize sedans to her audience members when that car went on sale in 2004. She also spent a day working at the Orion plant that built the car.

The Pontiac giveaway was a publicity coup for Winfrey and her popular program, but may not have done Pontiac much good. General Motors shut the brand down last year. The Orion plant is closed while it retools to produce new compact and subcompact cars for Buick and Chevrolet.

"It was a bonanza for Oprah and helped Pontiac get to where it is today," said Gordon Wangers, retired founder of automotive marketing and testing firm AMCI. Wangers now consults for automakers.

"It was great press for Oprah, but nobody remembers what the car was," he said. "I'd caution VW's marketing people to be sure they get credit for this."

In addition to donating the cars, VW will pay all applicable taxes and fees for the new owners.

VW needs to make a splash with the all-new 2012 Beetle. The current Beetle revitalized the brand in the U.S. when it went on sale in 1998. Sales have fallen as the car aged. It once accounted for about one-quarter of VW's U.S. sales, but slipped to just 7% last year.

The new model arrives just as the German automaker begins an ambitious plan to boost its U.S. sales to 800,000 a year by 2018. The VW brand sold 213,454 vehicles here last year.

The Beetle exemplifies the VW brand to many Americans. VW sells more Beetles in the U.S. than anywhere else.

The 2012 model is sportier and more advanced, with features such as Bluetooth capability for hands-free phone calls and turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines, VW of America President and CEO Jonathan Browning said. VW will build the car in Puebla, Mexico.

Read more: 2012 Beetle to go to all in Oprah's audience | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101123/BUSINESS01/11230330/2012-Beetle-to-go-to-all-in-Oprah-s-audience#ixzz1675PJMYD

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Oprah audience gets Bugged

VW giveaway reveals 2012 Beetle's sportier silhouette

Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

Volkswagen AG stunned and delighted the audience of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Monday when it offered each person a free, all-new, 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. The big giveaway on Winfrey's annual "Favorite Things" show echoed a similar stunt in 2004, when the audience received Pontiac G6 sedans.

Winfrey, who owns a Beetle, reached out to Volkswagen, telling executives the car is one of her "favorite things," Jonathan Browning, president of Volkswagen of America, said.

Volkswagen revealed only the silhouette Monday of the new model, a sleeker and sportier version of the current Beetle, a contemporary take on VW's first car. VW hasn't disclosed the price of the redesigned New Beetle, but the current model starts at $18,690.

The German automaker gave away symbolic keys to 275 cars that audience members will receive next year.

While the marketing ploy on the hugely popular show reached a vast audience, it may reinforce the Beetle's image as a woman's car.

Two-thirds of Beetle drivers are women, with an average age of 52, said Art Spinella, president of CNW Research in Bandon, Ore.

Browning told reporters VW had designed a sportier, more muscular Beetle to appeal to a wider audience. "We're reaching out to new buyers, but we want to take the current buyer set with us."

Many of VW's models, such as the GTI, appeal more to men, Spinella said. "There's no reason not to have a female-oriented vehicle in the lineup."

The 2012 New Beetle is one of three all-new models — the others are the redesigned Jetta and a new midsize car — that VW is rolling out to boost its share of the U.S. market, now just 2.2 percent.

By 2018, Volkswagen's namesake VW brand aims to more triple its U.S. sales, to 800,000 cars and light trucks.

Whatever goals VW may have for the next Beetle, "their broader edict is getting VW embedded in the mainstream of American culture channels," said Bill Visnic, a senior analyst at Edmunds AutoObserver.com.

"You don't get at that more directly than Oprah."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101123/BIZ/11230329/Oprah-audience-gets-Bugged#ixzz167d6fFvA

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Oprah Teases 2012 VW Beetle on Show, Hands Out Free Cars to Audience [with Video]


Love her or hate her, Oprah is one of the most influential women in the USA, and a mere mention of a product on her show can send masses running to buy it. Volkswagen took advantage of Oprah's ability to sway viewers by choosing her show to reveal the design silhouette of its all-new 2012 Beetle. And if that wasn't enough, the TV persona surprised her audience by giving each and every one of them a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. Well, not now, but when the car comes out in May of 2011.

"Oprah Winfrey and the Volkswagen Beetle are two American icons, so when the "Oprah" show approached us with this incredible opportunity to share her Beetle experience with deserving viewers, we instantly wanted to be a part of it," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America.

"Our all-new 2012 Beetle exemplifies power, styling and sophistication, and is an automotive icon reinvented to create the new shape of performance," he added.

In addition to the styling tease, VW released a statement saying that the "2012 Beetle will be a true, performance driving machine perfected by German engineering, offering a wealth of technologies that will provide a heightened driving experience over the previous generation."

The German company added that the New Beetle's successor, spy pictures of which you can check out below, will offer dual exhaust, 19-inch wheels, sport seats and new, sleeker styling, as well as numerous available features such as touch screen radio, high-grade audio speaker systems, navigation and unique ambient lighting .



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