Last year was the year Volkswagen held the very first auto show of its kind in the country called Das Auto Show to promote the brand to the public. This year Volkswagen held Das Auto Show once again but this time was to primarily reveal the latest generation Beetle to the public. The previous show last year was held in a huge car parking lot under large tents. This year however, it was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center which hints on what’s great in store for us. The show is opened to public for two days during the weekends. I went there a day earlier than the public, as a media of course!
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Doors are open to the VIP and medias at 7:30pm, I reached there slightly early and registered in order to get a media wristband which gains me access inside the VIP area. I may be early, but as you can see, there are quite a few guests and media on the scene. But soon this hall will be so crowded that you must squeeze yourself anywhere you go.
As this is a media launch day for selected guest and media, the treatment here for both media and exclusive guests is absolute first class. There are two bars serving both non and alcoholic drinks, and servers walking everywhere serving delicious bite-sized food. Their bite-sized cheeseburger was really heaven in my mouth. Well, I can’t enjoy myself too much, I got work to do!
The decor around you is pure Beetle. There are huge white shelves on the sides displaying parts of the very first generation Beetle such as fenders, wheel caps, steering wheel etc. While on the other side there are some classic posters of the original Beetle. But the centerpiece of it all must be the original Beetle parked right in the center of the hall. Polished and well kept inside out, the car seemed brand new.
Also inside the hall, the media will have to do another registration in order to get a bag of press kit. Inside are some pretty cool VW merchandise such as notebook, a Beetle hardcover book, pen, event schedule, press release, VW USB drive as well as a tiny model toy of the new Beetle which also turns out to be a slide-out USB drive. Among the crowd I was also lucky to be able to meet local YouTube celebrity Joseph Germani. If you are not aware, he filmed and starred in some teaser commercial for the Beetle prior to its launch today.
At 8:30 sharp, there was an announcement requesting everyone to enter Hall 5 for the main event. And so I quickly gulp down my second glass of Apricot of Passion and head for the hall. Inside the hall is pretty huge. I’m not very sure of exact capacity of the hall but my guess is approximately 250 people.
Right in front of the audience are five (yes five) super huge projector screens. With the center screen being the largest followed by the next two on the side and so on. As these screens are projected by projectors, I was truly surprised by the clarity of the video produced. It was genuinely LED TV-like and would be hard to imagine the price of these high-quality projectors, which goes to show the huge amount of budget VW has invested into the whole event.
As everyone got seated, the show began. To start it all off there was an introductory video of the Beetle and the history of the Beetle in the country. It was then followed by local celebrities talking about their Beetle experience and their thoughts of the original Beetle when they were young. There was also some interviews of local Beetle enthusiasts. The whole video presentation was of high quality and really does trigger the Beetle inside all of us. So kudos to VW there!
And finally the moment we have all been waiting for. The appearance of the Beetle, all five colors available for the Beetle was revealed one by one. Each driven in and out through on-stage “structures” which hides them from view. There are also some skilled driving and perfect coordination involved, and pair this with invigorating music and you got a very entertaining and catchy car presentation which definitely grabs your attention throughout the whole performance.
However that was still more of a teaser as the Beetles were then hidden from view to make way for the next performance. An impressive singing from a local artiste and some dancing which make use of motion-capture to project the dancers’ movement onto the screens.
And finally, the colorful Beetles came out from their shell to reveal themselves under the spotlights which marks the official launch of the Beetle. Mr Weiming Soh, Head of Greater China/ASEAN Commercial Operations of Volkswagen AG appeared on stage to introduce the Beetle.
After his introduction of the Beetle, the VIPs were ushered to the next hall for the Das Auto Show while the media and press remained there for the press conference. The aforementioned Mr Weiming Soh as well as Mr Ricky Tay, the Managing Director of VW Group Malaysia were there to answer questions from the media and press.
Only when the guests left do I notice the huge number of people from the media and press, over 60 of them I believe. I spotted some from NTV 7, 8TV as well as Astro Awani. I am also very lucky to be able to get the very front seat, right next to the NTV 7 newscaster.
After the press conference which lasted for around close to 30 minutes, we are all then invited to enter the next hall for the Das Auto Show. Here, there are more Beetles as well as some VW models which are not yet sold in the country, and a few from the current local model lineup.
VW models not available here which were shown includes the Touareg Hybrid, Amarok pickup truck, as well as the Multivan. Later on stage more exclusive models were shown but I will come back to that later in the post.
In this spacious hall, the huge number of people is less apparent and everyone has plenty of room to walk around. A relief to the waiters and waitresses who were there to serve everyone drinks such as red and white wine, beer, and some non-alcoholic drinks. No time for drinks as I have photos to take….till I stumble upon the dessert stand.
Of course there is always time for desserts! As you can see, the whole dessert table is made out of ice and right in the center is a rotating VW Beetle, also made out of ice! Most of the desserts served requires a spoon to eat and can finished in a bite or two. My favourite however must be the Beetle chocolate, bite sized chocolate in the shape of the Beetle! With a hard outer shell and soft center, oh I almost forgot I should be taking more photos…
As I mentioned before, the hall is indeed huge. There is a kids area where the guests’ children could sit down and do some coloring, a photo booth, a photo studio, two merchandise stalls, and a bar serving the same drinks as before but this time there are tables and chairs to relax. No relaxing time for me though.
There are four Beetles in the middle of the hall with its own podium and separated by a few meters from each other. All the cars here including the other VW cars are unlocked and could be sat in by anyone which is a great thing for everyone to experience the cars especially the ones not sold here. Not sure if they would remain unlock for the public.
What I did not mention about the hall is that there is another huge stage in front where VW will be revealing more VW models which are not yet or never available in our country. Paired with some uplifting remixes of popular mainstream music from a live DJ and dances, VW revealed the Cross Polo, Golf Cabriolet, Passat Variant (Wagon/Estate), as well as the flagship Phaeton.
And since this is the launch day of the Beetle, VW also included three more Beetles on stage alongside with with a few beautiful models. And if I am not mistaken, a total of twelve Beetles were present that day in this whole event including the ones before the press conference.
So that concludes my whole day over at the convention center for the 2012 Das Auto Show as well as to witness first hand the launch of the new generation Beetle. Looking forward to attend more of these awesome automotive events in the future! In the meantime, enjoy the huge photo gallery below. Cheers!