Oprah Winfrey’s always giving stuff away to audiences, but yesterday’s gift was a bit over the top: Redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. The talk show host, who owns the current model, featured the new VW Beetle on her show yesterday as one of her favorite things and all 275 members of her studio audience were told that they would receive the unreleased 2012 incarnation when it becomes available next year. The crowd was only shown a silhouette of the vehicle.
Oprah selected the Beetle as one of the items in her annual Favorite Things show, the second part of which aired on Monday. The occasion was particularly momentous because it was the last Favorite Things show, billed as Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things 2010. Ms. Winfrey will end The Oprah Winfrey Show next May and start her own cable channel, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen of America, confirmed that Winfrey reached out to the German automaker about the giveaway, saying that as an owner of the current VW New Beetle, the icon has long been one of her Favorite Things.
Details are limited, but the new Beetle will feature Ragster-inspired styling, a dual exhaust system, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the cabin will offer sport seats, a touch screen infotainment / navigation system, ambient lighting, and Bluetooth connectivity.
This is not the first time Oprah has given away new cars as part of her Favorite Things show. She famously handed over the keys to 276 then-new Pontiac G6 sedans back in 2004 as part of a $7.7 million promotion. But a few days later, after the screaming and mad hand-clapping had subsided, it came out that the winners had to pay tax of about $7,000 on the gift. This time around, VW said it would pay “all taxes and fees” for the recipients.
So what do you think of the 2012 VW Oprah Beetle?