2014 Volkswagen BeetleEnlarge Photo
In the company's early days, much of Volkswagen's range centered around just one model: The Beetle.
Those days may return to an extent, as the Beetle is the latest subject of Volkswagen's desire to fill every automotive niche possible.
German site Auto Bild reports that the next-generation Beetle could become the basis for a whole range of vehicles, a sub-brand to rival MINI and to a lesser extent, Fiat's 500 range.
The car could spawn a diverse mix of models. Auto Bild suggests a 'Bulli' people-mover would be one of the main offerings, resurrecting the idea of a modern-day take on Volkswagen's famous Type 2 buses and camper vans.
It's this model that most suggests Volkswagen will wait until the next-generation car to implement plans for an extended Beetle range, as the Bulli would require signficant platform engineering to enable its expected higher-roof, multi-seat layout.
Given the adaptability of VW's platforms though, several Bulli models could be offered--including all-wheel drive '4motion' variants, a newly-developed supercharged three-cylinder engine, and even electric variants--if the demand was there.
VW's Bulli ConceptEnlarge Photo
A Beetle coupe could also appear, perhaps inspired by VW's Karmann-Ghia models or the Hebmüller closed-deck convertible. A performance version and diesel models would be likely.
Even a 'Beetle SUV' is mooted, a car which Auto Bild notes has some historical precedent--the postwar Type 51 initially sat a Beetle body on the military Kübelwagen chassis, with raised suspension and off-road suitable tires.
The modern car could feature an "adventure"-style look, with extra headlights and rugged features--as well as the potential for all-wheel drive for a modicum of loose-surface ability.
We'll have to wait until around 2019 before any of these models are realized, but for fans of old Volkswagens an expanded, Beetle-based range will bring back fond memories.