Volkswagen revives Kombi spirit with Bulli concept

March 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has just unveiled its latest retro concept the Bulli which represents a modern take on the iconic Kombi.

This isn’t the first time VW has tried to reinvent the Kombi, back in 2001 another retro-inspired concept looked promising but management changes at VW killed the concept before it could be seriously considered for production.

Now, a decade on, VW is positioned very strongly and is trying out the concept again at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. This time around it’s called the Volkswagen Bulli, and like its 2001 predecessor, is designed to look and function like the brand’s famous Kombi. This Geneva concept is powered by an 84kW electric motor drawing charge from a lithium-ion battery pack. When fully charged, the Bulli has a theoretical range of around 300km before needing recharging. When a top up is required, VW says the Bulli can be fully charged in less than an hour.

The Bulli’s metal keeps true to the original Kombi layout and shape, which means a flat load floor and clever use of interior space. There are some modern tricks inside too with VW incorporating an Apple iPad which controls the stereo, navigation, bluetooth and air conditioning from its port on the console. The iPad directly communicates with a Fender USA-designed stereo system, which should pump out some serious beats.

Volkswagen hasn’t released any details on when or if the Bulli will make it into production, but don’t expect anything before 2014 at the earliest. Continue reading “Volkswagen revives Kombi spirit with Bulli concept” »

VW design boss lets slip on new Kombi

November 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It might just be time to dust off the dream of a new Volkswagen Kombi with news that Klaus Bischoff, chief designer for VW, believes a new version of the classic Camper is a fundamental part of his job. This rumour isn’t new and has certainly come around before, but with the success of the New Beetle’s ten-year production their may be a sound business case for a full Kombi revival.

At one point, there were plans to offer a production version of the 2001 Microbus concept that made waves at that year’s Detroit Motor Show, but potential costs put an end to that project. Now, a new Microbus seems back on, according to Bischoff, and Volkswagen is trying to figure out how conventional or creative to go with it. Volkswagen design offices around the world are being asked to offer input to help develop a vehicle with broad influences. At this stage possible platforms and powertrains are unknown but if it all goes ahead a new Kombi concept is likely in 2012.

Volkswagen Bus celebrates 60th Anniversary

March 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Many carmakers have built cars for decades and have never come close to creating a product that can truly be considered a cultural icon. The carmakers that do sometimes produce multiple such models. One of those is Volkswagen who has had success with both its Beetle and the Microbus or Kombi which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2010.

Like the original Beetle, the Microbus had an air-cooled flat-four cylinder engine sitting out back on the rear axle. The front seats were then moved up over the front axle creating a van format that was eventually copied by Ford, Dodge, General Motors and numerous Japanese automakers.

Over the next sixty years, the bus would become the ride of choice for surfers, hippies and adventurers everywhere. Many surviving examples from the 1960s are lovingly restored and still haul surfboards and stoners today.

In the 1980s, the third-generation bus changed into the less iconic Vanagon model and pesky emissions standards forced the adoption of water cooling in 1983. The last of the rear-engined VW vans finished production in 1992.

To find out more click on the link below to read VW’s official press release.

Continue reading “Volkswagen Bus celebrates 60th Anniversary” »

Will VW resurrect the Microbus concept?

September 8th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

VW Microbus concept fq

Back in 2001 VW showed a Microbus concept. People liked it, and it was rumoured to be going into production in 2005, but that didn’t happen. The project got expensive, the US dollar wasn’t doing well, and then-boss Bernd Pischesrieder killed it off.

But aging hippies everywhere have danced around campfires, played djembes and offered gifts of lentils and mung beans to the tree fairies in the hope that VW would bring back their favourite form of transport: the Kombi. Now, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that VW may produce a Microbus at the Chattanooga, Tennessee facility. An unnamed Volkswagen suit told the SMH that the Microbus won’t make it to Europe; another spokesperson hinted that the vehicle may be able to be produced.

What does that mean for NZ? Well, should it be produced and gain enough traction over in the US, right-hand drive markets are sure to want a piece of it. So, within the next 3-4 years we could see the new Microbus touring around our fair country with a new generation of hippies.