Wednesday, April 23, 2014

#TheBeetleIsBack! A third generation of perpetual motion

It's back: the icon, the silhouette, the pop-culture phenomenon. Last April 2nd, Ayala Auto Holding Corporation (AAHC) and Automobile Central Enterprise, Inc. (ACEI), led by its Chairman, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, his brother, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and CEO JP Orbeta officially released the third generation Volkswagen Beetle to the Philippine market. 

Ready to enthrall yet another generation of car enthusiasts, The Beetle originally symbolized the democratization of mobility, with 21.5 million cars sold since its first production in 1939 to 1997.

Yet how do you measure the lasting strength of a cultural icon? Ask anyone to identify or describe the car model that inspired the sobriquet “Beetle” and they’ll likely get it right.

“Oh yeah, the car that looks like a cute bug, I know that!”

“The Beetle? Who doesn’t know The Beetle!”

“Of course! That’s Herbie from The Love Bug.”

“Dude, that’s the car from Herbie Fully Loaded. The movie with Lindsay Lohan.”

I’m part of a generation that not only referred to the VW as The Beetle, we also called it the “Volks.” It was unmistakable. Like a social code everyone knew. A kid knew what the Volks was. A grown up knew what the Volks was. The Beetle was the Volks and the Volks was the Beetle. Such was the singular identity of one of the legendary success stories in automotive history.

It was also one of the first cars my family owned. The image of a canary-yellow Volkswagen Beetle (original color was sky blue) is hardwired with every childhood memory I have. It’s 1979. I’m slumped in the back seat, finishing a pack of Horlicks. My dad’s driving along EDSA. It’s just the two of us in the car. I’m enjoying the sound of the VW 1200 engine (although my dad fitted the car with VW 1500 lights and accessories to make our car look newer). I loved that sound because, for me, it meant I was heading home from school.

That’s why it’s The Love Bug. Because the Beetle is about perpetual emotion. Because the Beetle is about lasting memories made and lasting memories you’re about to make.

"The Beetle has always been special to me,” JP Orbeta, president of Automobile Central Enterprise, Inc. (ACEI), the official importer and distributor of Volkswagen cars in the country, said. “I first learned how to drive with a Beetle and will always have fond memories, as I’m sure many Filipinos do. And now, I am extremely proud to be heralding the return of the world’s most iconic car back to Philippine shores.”

The third generation Beetle, brandishing a sportier look with its extended bonnet, sharply swept-back windscreen and a longer wheelbase, comes in two models: the Beetle 1.2 TSI 6-speed M/T at PHP 1,590,000 or the Beetle 1.4 TSI 7-speed DSG at PHP 1,790,000 (or 1,840,000 for Onyx White).

The Volkswagen BGC showroom is located at 28th Street City Center, Bonifacio Global City.  Showroom hours are from Monday to Thursday 8am to 6pm, Friday and Saturday 8am to 7pm, and Sunday 9am to 6pm.  For more information on Volkswagen or to request for a test drive, visit or email 

“No other car evokes as much nostalgia, tradition, and heritage as the Beetle,” Fernando Zobel de Ayala said. “As such, I am especially pleased and excited to launch a car as iconic and celebrated as the one we have launched.” 

What lasting memories will you make with the third generation Beetle?  MH

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