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VW Microbus: resurrected?

VW MicrobusVW’s exciting 2001 Microbus concept was killed in 2005. But a senior VW official has now told an Australian newspaper, “We’re looking at ways to produce the Microbus that will make it competitive in North America.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, “There appears to be renewed enthusiasm to see the Microbus reach production—although in a much more modified form than planned.”

If production does go ahead it’s likely to be at Volkswagen’s new plant in Chattanooga, which is set to build a four-door sedan in 2011 for the North American market. According to the Herald, spokeswoman Jill Bratina “confirmed VW was considering production of a second model in Chattanooga but stopped short of revealing more.”

Could this mark the resurrection of VW’s widely acclaimed prototype? Based on the T5 commercial van and originally slated for production in Hanover, the styling held promise: it captured the flavor of the original in the same way that the BMW Mini and the new Fiat 500 resemble their legendary forebears.

Volkswagen boss Bernd Pischetsrieder formally killed the project but his replacement, former Audi boss Martin Winterkorn, apparently sees profit potential in the Microbus.

Interest in the Microbus, or Kombi as many territories know it, has never waned. The original bus is still made in Brazil, but powered by a 1.4 liter watercooled engine. And a couple of years ago, VW’s Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto took the slightly bizarre step of retrofitting a perfectly good 1964 Deluxe Microbus with oodles of modern technology, calling it the VW Chameleon. The only real innovation was getting Hybrid Technologies to swap out the original engine with an electric motor powered by lithium polymer batteries.

Aside from Volkswagen’s own 2001 concept, the most promising reinvention of the Microbus was the Westfalia Verdier. Revealed two years ago by Canadian industrial designer Alexandre Verdier and friends, it never made it to physical prototype stage.

But now it looks like VW has finally come to its senses, and realised that the iconic Kombi is still relevant after all these years. With a little luck, we’ll see the world’s best-loved camper back on the road again—in a form that does justice to the original.

See also:
You can still get a ‘new’ Type 2 Kombi campervan if you live in the UK. But if you hanker after modern amenities in your retro-looking van, check out the beautiful Tonke Campers built in Holland.

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VW Microbus
VW Microbus
VW Microbus

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Discussion

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  1. I also want:

    Gas/electric powered refrigerator
    Gas/electric grill
    Microwave
    Gas/electric powered water heater
    One bed, which double-up as daytime seating
    Electricity supplied by battery or external hookup
    Toilet with removable disposal tank
    Shower
    Satellite dish for TV, Internet
    Air conditioning
    Water tank
    Wastewater tank for “gray water” (wash water)

    It will be much better than the RVs which run few miles per gallon.

    Posted by Peter | September 6, 2008, 3:59 pm
  2. It kind of looks like… a minivan.

    Posted by Pud | September 6, 2008, 4:48 pm
  3. Yep.. but make it 4wd with a poptop like the old Vanagon Syncro.

    Posted by syncrofreak | September 10, 2008, 6:15 pm
  4. 0 partir de quand ce vehicule est disponible en France ou Allemagne?

    Merci de me repondre

    Posted by Franz-Josef Schambach | September 15, 2008, 3:09 am
  5. Franz-Josef,

    There’s no word yet on whether the vehicle will be built at all. As soon as we hear, we’ll have the details here on squob.com.

    Chris

    Posted by Chris | October 10, 2008, 7:40 pm
  6. With all their research and analysis, one would think that even one of their brainiacs would tell them that they would have 3yrs of orders to the consumers that knew the old bus, and that once it is on the market then they would ALSO pick up NEW customers. How good is it to have 3 (THREE)years of orders in an order bank. “WOW” what a concept!….

    Posted by Bob | May 4, 2009, 12:19 pm
  7. I like the look very much. Add to it split rear doors and a panel van model and I would buy it today!

    Posted by Rich Monk | May 7, 2009, 3:56 pm
  8. as a vw convert, i would happily trade my brand new vw shuttle for one of those babies! think it is stunning. remember seeing concept in 2001 and wanted to buy one then, was very disappointed when project was shelved, have brought a toy replica today.lets hope vw come to there senses!!

    Posted by clare wayne | September 6, 2009, 7:45 am
  9. it would make sense to me that the mini-van space could use a smart design shake up. if VW were to offer this as a hybrid, i think that would completely seal the deal for them…

    Posted by Christopher Frawley | January 20, 2010, 9:18 am
  10. I am still waiting….please VW hurry!

    Posted by EJ Kreuze | June 17, 2010, 4:10 am
  11. I agree with all the above remarks specially Peter….we like good amenities that the big boys have in their monstor RV’s but love the VW campers since they started building them..Just bring them back ASAP…..otherwise you are losing money and we are stuck with used ones….I am looking for a well cared for Camper a low milage late model…..Thanks, Paul

    Posted by Paul Richards | June 20, 2010, 11:31 am
  12. that looks so very cool. i would buy one today knowing the realibility of vw. sweet

    Posted by patrick neuenfeldt | August 8, 2010, 2:44 pm

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