First Drive: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible volkswagen first drives auto shows 2013 autoshows 2012 la autoshow
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. Click image to enlarge
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Review and photos by Mike Schlee

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2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Malibu, California – Volkswagen, as a worldwide company, is on track to set their all-time sales record in 2012: pretty amazing for a European car company in 2012 as this year has not been very kind to several other manufacturers across the pond.  Although part of Volkswagen’s sales success has to do with the North American market where they have an ambitious plan of selling 800,000 vehicles annually by 2014, their real success has to do with being in a ton of markets the world over.  They, unlike other manufacturers, are not tied financially to one market and its up and down swings.

Volkswagen is hoping to achieve the 800,000 North American sales milestone by leaning heavily on their German heritage.   As Volkswagen put it during the 2013 Beetle Convertible launch in Santa Monica, they don’t think the world needs another Honda or Toyota.  They are the only German brand playing in this price point and Volkswagen considers themselves the automotive equivalent to Target: mass produced products with a side of premium.

First Drive: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible volkswagen first drives auto shows 2013 autoshows 2012 la autoshow
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. Click image to enlarge

Whether you believe all of this marketing-speak or not is irrelevant; Volkswagen is on a roll.  So it really should come as no surprise that a new Beetle Convertible is heading to the market to complement the 2013 Beetle Coupe.  These all-new 2013 Beetles are built exclusively in Mexico and share their basic platform with the Jetta.  As mentioned during our 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo review, this has allowed the Beetle to grow.

Besides growing in stature, Volkswagen also wanted to butch up the new Beetle.  Volkswagen basically admitted that they were looking for more male buyers with the newest Beetle; male enthusiasts specifically.  I believe the wording they used was along the lines of “looking for an expanded audience.” That being said, roughly 50 percent of Beetle buyers in Canada are male… well… at least 50 percent of Beetle ownerships are signed with male names on them.  The numbers, however, get far more skewed when the top is removed, as only 17 percent of Beetle Convertible owners in the United States are male.

First Drive: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible volkswagen first drives auto shows 2013 autoshows 2012 la autoshow
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. Click image to enlarge

Indeed the new Beetle is manlier.  During a recent test drive of the 2013 Beetle Sportline, I noted that that the new look resembles that of the original Beetle much more than the last generation, albeit in a grossly inflated size.  But what happens when Volkswagen chops the top off?  Does it lose its looks and its manliness?  Well, manliness is debatable, but the looks remain, a fact reinforced by Volkswagen, who brought along two 1979 Beetle convertibles and one 1980 Beetle convertible for reference and comparison.




About Mike

Mike Schlee is the Social Editor at Autos.ca and autoTRADER.ca. He began his professional automotive writing career in 2011 and has always had a passion for all things automotive, working in the industry since 2000.