DETROIT - When a baby boomer admiring the Volkswagen Beetle was asked his opinion of the new Beetle at the North American International Auto Show last month, he politely declined.
'I work for Chevrolet and that wouldn't go over well,' he said.
Nearly everybody, it seems, was excited about the new Beetle. Nostalgic baby boomers, now in their forties, and curious Generation Xers, in their twenties, flocked to the reborn car during the public days of the auto show.
Andre Brooks, 45, from Detroit, remembers riding to Chicago in a 1967 Beetle 'with four bald tires and a flat spare.'
Brooks said he would consider buying the new Beetle: 'I'm not too old to have fun. Short of driving it, it seems like a nice car.'
Peter Barth's first two cars were Beetles. His verdict on the new one: 'I think it's outstanding.' The Detroit small businessman was 'amazed' at how much interior room the new Beetle has.
Barth also liked the modern conveniences, such as power windows and air conditioning, undreamed-of luxuries on the original Beetle.
He reserved final judgement until he could drive one, however. And he wondered, 'What do the crash tests say? How does it rate against other cars?'
Jim Cameron, a 57-year-old retiree from Windsor, Ontario, owned a 1958 Beetle. He liked the new Bug, but said he would not consider buying one.
The price is too high, he said. The base price in the US, with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission, is $15,700, including $500 freight.
That includes such standard equipment as air conditioning, anti-theft alarm system, power door locks, side airbags and heated outside rear view mirrors.
One man is happy that he did buy one.
Rick Maier, who lives about 950km from Detroit, put down a $500 deposit on a new Beetle four years ago, on 21 January 1994, three weeks after VW unveiled the Concept 1, upon which the Beetle is based. He will get the first one sold in the USA.
Barb Jones, who lives in suburban Detroit, said she would buy a new Beetle 'if I could afford a second car.'
While many baby boomers see the Beetle as a second car, twentysomethings such as Tara Zaharoff, a native of Pittsburgh, consider the new Beetle primary transportation.
'It's very spacious,' said Zaharoff, who is 175cm tall. 'I've read enough about it that I wanted to come and see it.'
Zaharoff said she may buy the new Beetle, when she tires of the Ford F-150 pickup she just bought.
'The Beetle has turned the multi-level VW exhibit into one of the biggest, most exciting attractions at this year's show,' said a spokesman for the organizer, the Detroit Automobile Dealers Association. Many people came just to see the Beetle.