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Remember the retro-tastic Bulli from Geneva? If not, then this link should refresh your memory. Well, Volkswagen research and development boss Ulrich Hackenberg says it wasn’t just a snazzy show concept—the company plans to put it into production, under the MDS (modular design system) platform.
The platform, previously known as the MQB, will enter production next year with the third-generation Audi A3; yet after that it will spread like pollen to a whole host of new Volkswagen products, including the Bulli, which will be sold as the Microbus.
And for American fans of the original VW van, the Microbus will be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, or probably Mexico—where it will go up against the Scion xB as an uncharacterizable tall wagon/crossover sort of deal. Luckily for VW, the Microbus already has a rabid fanbase cultivated over 60 years, because you can’t put a price on nostalgia (without horrendous dealer markup, anyway).
GALLERY: Volkswagen Bulli Concept
Even though it’s spawned various stillborn re-incarnations, the VW Microbus may be returning thanks to executives within Volkswagen pushing for a concept that evokes the iconic utility vehicle.
Klaus Bischoff, head of design for Volkswagen, stated that the 2001 Microbus concept did not make it to production due to cost factors, but noted there was serious public support for the project.
Despite the goodwill expressed towards the project, Volkswagen remains unsure of what direction they will take with the Microbus. Bischoff told Auto Express that “the key question is ‘what sort of car should we build?’ It could be a traditional MPV, with a conventional interior, or we could be much bolder, designing a more flexible, versatile machine – perhaps one that is closer in spirit to the original model. It is not yet decided.”
A concept likely won’t be seen before 2012, but reports say that VW’s American and European design teams are working together to create something mutually acceptable for both markets.
[Source: Auto Express]