Good Oil: VW squashes the Beetle
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At the Geneva motor show, Volkswagen CEO, Dr Herbert Diess, announced that “Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand” while talking about the convertible version of its newest compact crossover — the T-Roc.
It’s good news for folks who want something akin to a smaller Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet, but it’s bad news for Beetle fans. R&D boss Frank Welsch has told Autocar the Beetle won’t see a successor.
Welsch said the reason for not building a Beetle successor is “made with history in mind; you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle.” For those who have forgotten, the Beetle was revived in 1997 and was dubbed the New Beetle in 2011.
It appears VW will instead use the bus-like I.D. Buzz as its nostalgia play, along with the Beetle-shaped T-Roc convertible, to fill the void of a small, round convertible.
If you’re stateside, you might not know what the T-Roc is, as it hasn’t made its way there yet.
The Buzz is a different story, considering it already has a release date — right around the corner in 2022.
That means the Beetle has life left, and you’ll be able to get one for a while.
But after Volkswagen’s electric push and evolution into an “SUV brand” happens, you’ll be out of luck.
SUV format for Lagonda
Lagonda was once a brand synonymous with absolute refinement — an opulent motor car designed in the same regal vein as Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. Aston Martin purchased the Lagonda brand in 1947. And then designer
William Towns ruined it all with the wedge-tastic Aston Martin Lagonda of 1974.
If you aren’t familiar with that car, it was an unmitigated disaster for the manufacturer. Only 645 were produced, but there were probably 643 with electrical gremlins that, in many cases, rendered the large four-door luxury sedans absolutely useless.
Fitted with pop-up headlights, futuristic LED displays and touchpads, the Aston Martin Lagonda was ahead of its time as an ideas car. It also looked utterly unlike anything Aston Martin had released before; think of the swooping, elegant lines of the classic DB5. Okay, now think of the exact opposite of that; there’s your Lagonda.
Still, this chequered history hasn’t stopped Aston Martin from mining its past in the name of electric luxury.
At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the carmaker unveiled its intention to revive Lagonda as its electrically minded offshoot.
The first Lagonda-badged vehicle will apparently be SUV-sized, and will complement the planned Aston Martin DBX SUV (also likely to be known as the Varekai), as well as being yet another future rival for the Tesla Model X.
The latter is due to face competition from the forthcoming Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV before the end of the year, although the Lagonda SUV is unlikely to surface before 2021.
This all sounds interesting. Aston Martin is promising plenty of bleeding-edge tech in the Lagonda line-up (a sedan could follow by 2023), including a 640-ish km range and the promise of true wireless battery charging.
Hmm. Lagonda + Amazing New Technology? We weren’t at all worried until now ...
Honda doing Civic duty
We’re all used to the sight of a tiny van converted into a coffee cart on wheels. If your children play winter sports, the sight of such a van on a frosty Saturday morning is almost as welcome as a team win.
Coffee cart images came to mind when the Good Oil saw photos of the electric Honda Urban EV Concept that stole last year’s show in Frankfurt, and will go into production early 2019.
The Urban EV Concept’s styling should retain its cheeky retro vibe, inspired by the original Civic from the early 70s. We should get our first look at the production car late this year.
Honda has not revealed specifics in regards to powertrains or range but we’re betting on a range between 160-320km from a single charge is likely.
The overt retro influence is punctuated by modern detail, from the LED headlight surrounds to the white multi-spoke alloy wheels and pair of message boards integrated into the front grille and rear deck. The doors are also rear-hinged as on a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
It should measure 3.9m long with Honda saying it’s 100mm shorter than a Jazz, but 350mm longer than the original Civic.
The cabin is all modern. A duo of widescreens dominate. There are bench seats front and rear, so how to access the second row is anyone’s guess.
Supplementing the futuristic feel is Honda’s Automated Network Assistant — a concierge-type service becoming more common as vehicles get more connected — and Honda has introduced the Honda Power Manager concept, a smart system for home energy.