Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

LOS ANGELES – A new Volkswagen Beetle will be arriving in the U.S. in 18 months as a ’12 model, Volkswagen AG’s top North American executive says.

Volkswagen of America Inc. CEO Stefan Jacoby declines to reveal details, noting even the car’s name has yet to be decided.

There are “still 18 months to go, so we haven’t made a lot of decisions,” he tells Ward’s at the Los Angeles auto show.

To usher out the old model, VW unveils the ’10 New Beetle and New Beetle convertible “Final” editions here.

Arriving in U.S. showrooms next spring, the vehicles will be limited to only 1,500 units each.

The cars are “numbered, starting from 1,500 and going down to the very last edition,” he says.

Coupe versions feature a retro-looking Aquarius Blue paint, with a painted black roof. Convertibles get a two-tone Aquarius Blue and Campanella White paint scheme with a white top.

The pair also boasts new integrated fog lamps and a sport suspension with 17-in. alloy wheels.

Both models will come standard with a 2.5L inline 4-cyl. engine producing 150 hp and 170 lb.-ft. (230 Nm) of torque.

“It’s a final edition, so we put a lot of love into the cars,” Jacoby says.

Meanwhile, VWA debuts the new Up! Lite concept.

Based on the auto maker’s new Up! small-car platform, the 1,530-lb. (694 kg) car is powered by a 0.8L 2-cyl. turbocharged diesel, paired with a 10-kW electric motor and mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

VW says the car can achieve 70 mpg (3.4 L/100 km) on the highway and accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 12 seconds.

The electric motor is designed as a “pulse-start module,” combining the starter, alternator and the “E-drive” that provides boost during passing maneuvers, VW says.

The exterior of the 3-door concept was designed with aerodynamic efficiency in mind, with a broad shoulder section the auto maker says is reminiscent of the Scirocco. The rear of the car boasts a hatch largely composed of glass, as well as light-emitting diode tail lamps.

To keep weight to a minimum, the roof is constructed of carbon fiber.

The car may be green-lighted for production and launched globally as early as 2011, if VW detects demand, Jacoby says.

“It would be affordable, and we’re able to produce this vehicle as it’s based on an existing platform,” he says, noting VW expects global auto sales to grow next year.

“If the market is ready, we’ll produce this vehicle.”

bpope@wardsauto.com