So how did the so-called People’s Car gain favor with the hippies and heart-happy hooligans? Volkswagen claims it could all be because of an unassuming accessory: the bud vase.
First appearing as an optional dealer aftersales add-on in the 1950s, the porcelain “blumenvasen” accessories were manufactured by high-end German porcelain manufacturers and were easily attached to the car’s dashboard, speaker grille or windshield, allowing owners to adorn their cabins with their blossom of choice.
But more than just a way to add a pop of color to Volkswagen’s cars, the bud vase was also an homage of sorts to the very early days of the automobile, when cars usually came with flower vases to mask the smell of the engine for vehicle occupants. Over the years, the vases themselves quickly became more elaborate and decorative, that is, until the introduction of automotive air conditioning systems.
With cabins becoming more secure from exterior smells, eventually, people lost interest in bud vases. But since VW is a stickler for history, it brought the feature back in the Beetle’s redesign in 1998. While the New Beetle’s standard package included many modern upgrades, it also came with a three-inch acrylic version of the Bug’s signature vase.
The New Beetle, part of the VW comeback in PH, was advertised with slogans such as, “The engine is in the front, but the heart is in the same place” and “A work of art with side air bags and a bud vase.” The vase gave the new Beetle interior a sense of cuteness that appealed to a lot of women, and as a result, sales of the VW Beetle skewed 60 percent female.
But like the old Beetle before it, Volkswagen soon dropped the bud vase accessory from the Beetle with its 2011 redesign, as the car itself took on a more gender-neutral atmosphere.
Nevertheless, bud vases remain a popular addition to classic Volkswagen Beetles, because “a touch of beauty never goes out of style,” the company claims.
Photo/s from Volkswagen