The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is on exhibit Monday at Warehouse...

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is on exhibit Monday at Warehouse at Pier 36 in Manhattan. The car will be available in the United States in September 2011. (April 18, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

In its 73-year history, the Beetle has evolved from the hippie ride of choice to a cute chick car. Now Volkswagen is reinventing it again.

The company introduced an edgy design Monday for its signature model, giving it a flatter roof, a less bulbous shape, narrowed windows and a sharp crease along the side. Gone is the built-in flower vase on the dashboard.

It's the first overhaul since 1998, when Volkswagen came up with the New Beetle. VW, which wants to triple its U.S. sales of cars and trucks over the next decade, says the changes will appeal to more buyers, especially men.

But the changes could also anger fans, who love the little four-seater for its huggable curves and perky attitude.

VW's lead Beetle project manager for the United States, Andres Valbuena, says the 2012 model will have a navigation system, a significantly larger trunk, more luxurious materials and ambient lighting. "It ties in more with our other products. It's more upscale," Valbuena said. The 2012 Beetle goes on sale this fall. VW won't yet say how much it costs.

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