VW Brazil Builds its 1.5 Millionth Bus

VW Brazil Builds its 1.5 Millionth Bus

As in the iconic VW Type 2, which was built in Germany from 1950 until 1979, when it was replaced the larger, angular T3/T25 (known as the Vanagon in our neck of the woods).

However, despite having been absent from Europe and North America for decades, T2 production has continued – it lasted in Mexico until 1996 and Brazil still makes them (in high roof T2c form).

In fact. VW do Brasil has just completed it’s 1.5 millionth example at the Anchieta assembly plant, with a ceremony to mark the occasion. The Bus was the first VW to be assembled in the country and thanks to its lengthy production run has become somewhat of a cultural icon in Brazil. It’s also essentially little changed since the 1970s, the biggest alteration coming in 2005 when the oil/air cooled engine was replaced by a modern water cooled 1.4-liter four cylinder unit, requiring modifications to the front of the Type 2 (namely the installation of a radiator assembly and grille opening).

In Brazil, the Bus accounts for approximately 3.3 percent of light commercial vehicle market and is offered in two configurations, Furgão (windowless cargo van) which sells for the equivalent of $26,348 and the standard nine passenger window Bus which retails for $24,142, making it attractively priced against newer, front-drive vans. It’s also been heavily exported over the years, primarily to other Latin American countries but some have made it as far as Africa and indeed in Europe. In fact, in the Netherlands you can officially buy a brand new Bus, outfitted as a modern day Westfalia camper, but with modifications and import fees the price is a lot more expensive than in Brazil, some 44,995 Euros (around $61,000).

Nonetheless, for classic VW fans and other nostalgia trippers, being able to have one new Bus rather than none at all is a bonus. However, some analysts predict that when Brazil mandates modern safety feature such as ABS and airbags in 2012, production of the venerable Bus will finally end. Too bad.