It may be the last year of Oprah Winfrey show, but Oprah Winfrey is definitely going out with a big bang.
In the second part of her annual Oprah Winfrey episode yesterday, the talk show host gave away a brand new Volkswagen (VW) Beetle to every member of her 275 strong audience.
In a video clip of the show, the studio audience turned hysterical after she drove into the studio in a VW Beetle. Some were seen gasping while others were congratulating one another.
Oprah told the audience: “I happened to own one and it is one of my favourite things,”
The initially joyous atmosphere turned a bit sombre after Oprah added: “I wanted to give everyone one of these (VW Beetle) to you but VW said no.”
Then Oprah revealed the twist.
“VW said no, ‘Sorry Oprah, we cannot give everyone this Beetle but maybe we can do one better.”
“They said we cannot give you this Beetle but how about if we give each person in your audience a brand-new, redesigned, 2012 Volkswagen Beetle?” she told her studio audience.
The new Beetle will not be revealed until May 2012 next year but Oprah gave her audience a sneak peek of the car’s silhouette.
Keys were handed out to the screaming crowd, who will be the first group to get behind the wheel of the new updated model, hitting showrooms next autumn.
‘Oh yeah, oh yeah, I gotcha, I gotcha,’ she yelled to the stunned audience after a massive gift box was opened to reveal the car’s silhouette.
The first half of Oprah’s Favorite Things, which aired last week, saw the talk show host give away thousands of dollars worth of prizes including a Sony television and Caribbean cruise.
The 56-year-old talk show host also gave the audience an Apple iPad, which she proclaimed her ‘No. 1 favourite thing ever.’
‘I know it’s wrong to be in love with a thing, and I don’t normally recommend it,’ she said, before declaring the gadget the ‘best invention of the century so far.’
Oprah also gave the audience several items of clothing, including a cashmere sweater, Ugg boots covered in sequins and a patent-leather Coach bag that cost nearly $400.
‘It’s not really about all the gifts,’ she said. ‘Although the stuff is really fun, it really for me is about hope.
‘It’s about knowing that something really magical and joyful and wonderful can happen to you when you least expect it.’
According to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, Volkswagen is using the show as a launching pad for its redesigned Beetle even though the car’s sale date is a year away.
The introduction was part of the car maker’s plan to raise the profile of the Beetle, along with the rest of its models, said the report.
Volkswagen told WSJ that Winfrey had mentioned the Beetle was among her favourite things.
“And if you follow Oprah, you know she likes to share her favorite things,” Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, told WSJ.
The report further mentioned that the new Beetle was meant to strengthen the company’s image as a maker of sporty cars with enough performance to attract enthusiasts and not just shoppers looking for something cute.
WSJ reported that VW will be donating 275 of the 2012 Beetles plus applicable taxes and fees.
This is not the first time she has given away cars. In 2004, Winfrey gave 276 Pontiac G6 cars to her audience.
Oprah has developed a bit of a reputation for generous giveaways of late.
Back in September, she lavished a trip to Australia on her audience members to mark the premiere of the 25th season of her show.
She announced that John Travolta would pilot all 300 of her audience to Sydney.
Oprah explained her decision to leave the show next year to concentrate on her new cable network Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). OWN is a joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc. that is expected to debut in some 74 million homes in 2011.
‘This show has been my life, and I love it enough to know when it’s time to say goodbye,’ she said.
‘Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It’s the perfect number. It’s the exact right time.’