Get ready for a new New Beetle. Volkswagen says an all-new iteration of its iconic retro hatchback will finally be revealed on April 18, skipping the traditional auto show format in favor of a live debut spanning three continents.

Volkswagen’s launch ceremony will kick off in Shanghai, where an MTV Sound System celebration for the car’s debut will be hosted by MTV VJs. The Volkswagen-MTV partnership will continue later in Berlin, where a similar MTV-hosted party will treat attendees to a performance by Belgian DJ duo 2manydjs. The celebration’s final act will be a New York City performance by the Black Eyed Peas, streamed live on the Web at www.WorldStage.MTV.com.

If you won’t be able to catch the celebrations live, don’t worry – highlights from the parties will be available online and even replayed on MTV’s television networks worldwide. That’s important for Volkswagen, who hopes the campaign will help young buyers get a fresh glimpse of the redesigned icon – dubbed the “21st Century Beetle” by Volkswagen – in a non-traditional way.

“The Beetle is an icon of the automotive world, just like MTV is an icon of the music world,” said Luca de Meo, Volkswagen Group’s director of marketing. “In the context of this marketing alliance, we are taking the new Volkswagen directly to customers and fans of the Volkswagen brand – and we are doing it globally.”

Although Volkswagen was quiet in its cancellation of the original New Beetle, it has given the forthcoming model ample publicity – and some secrecy, too. In November, Oprah gave away the new Beetle on her show to hundreds of audience members, but revealed just a silhouette of the still-unreleased car. And while a clever Super Bowl ad announced the updated model would be on sale in the fall, it too displayed just the car’s profile – on the back of an actual beetle.

According to Volkswagen, the updated Beetle’s styling “reinterprets the silhouette” of the original model, pairing retro styling with cutting-edge technology. Whether or not the German automaker lives up to its promise will be seen globally on April 18.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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