Volkswagen Falls Into the iFad with New iBeetle, Debuts in Shanghai


If you love marketing-driven spins on products, then you'll like what Volkswagen came up with for its retro-styled Beetle compact car. Enter the new iBeetle Edition that's set for a global premiere at the Auto China 2013 in Shanghai this weekend. You don't have to be an Apple-junkie to understand the meaning behind the name, but the result might leave you puzzled.According to the German automaker, the iBeetle is the first model line from the entire VW Group [sic] "in which the iPhone will become an integrated component". What this means in practical terms is that the iBeetle hatch and iBeetle Convertible are offered with a special app and an Apple iPhone docking station. No really, that's all it is…
VW's designers mounted the new Apple docking station right on top of the central console with the iPhone simply snapping into position. As for the "special" iBeetle app, here's what it includes in Volkswagen's own words:
  • Spotify: lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between “Spotify” and “iTunes” at any time.
  • Expert: offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle, such as a G-Meter (for measuring lateral acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.
  • Trainer: can be used to compare driving times, distances, and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations. Here, too, tips can be posted via social networks like Twitter and Facebook—such as which route is faster to the office.
  • Reader: lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook, and reads iPhone messages aloud.
  • Postcard: Sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif.
  • Photo: Sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest.
  • Milestones: Available when the smartphone is undocked. Rewards its users with virtual “milestone stickers” for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.
Worldwide sales of the iBeetle and iBeetle Convertible will begin early next year with standard features including, 18-inch “Disc” alloy wheels, door mirror housings and side trim panels finished in a “Galvano Grey” color, and a chrome trim package.


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