(from Volkswagen Press Release, March
2003) The New Beetle has its design roots in the land where it has
enjoyed its greatest success: America. Volkswagen founded its design
centre in Simi Valley in 1991. It was at this centre that the Concept 1,
originally presented at the 1994 Detroit Motor Show, was devised. This
embryonic vehicle already sported some of the essential design
characteristics of today's New Beetle. The concept was celebrated by the
public and media alike. The study's successful interpretation of the
classic Beetle forms hit the mark throughout the automobile world. This
Volkswagen, as was often heard back then, must not be allowed to remain
a concept but must become reality.
Volkswagen presented a further developed version of Concept 1 at the
1995 Tokyo Motor Show. While this version was, for the most part, true
to the original concept, it was also evident that a further step had
been taken towards developing the model to a possible series solution.
For this version, too, public enthusiasm proved to be intense. Soon
afterwards, in the autumn of 1995, Volkswagen passed the decision to
take the new-era Beetle to full-scale production maturity.
Put in the hands of Volkswagen engineers, this mission was completed
with remarkable expediency. The New Beetle celebrated its world premiere
at the Detroit Motor Show in 1998. In March of 1998, it was ultimately
launched in North America. Half a year later, the New Beetle appeared on
the European market, likewise winning popular acclaim there. Premiered
at the 1998 Paris Automobile Salon, the car was launched for sale on the
German market in November.