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The British and the Germans swept the 2011 Concept Car of the Year awards in Dearborn, with top marks going towards Lotus, Jaguar, and Volkswagen.
The insane, beautiful Jaguar C-X75 took not only the Best Concept award but also the Most Significant—no doubt for its turbine engine, which sadly won’t make it to Jaguar’s production version (and kind of defeats the purpose, but that’s a different story). The best production preview, the car most likely to be built as close to its concept as possible, went to Lotus and its four-door Eterne sedan. And lastly, VW’s retro-tastic Bulli concept took Best Truck.
The two dozen jurors in the selection committee came from across North America, so there’s less accusations of Eurocentrism there. Cars displayed at last year’s major shows are all eligible for judging.
[Source: Detroit Free Press]
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
In Germany, the Volkswagen Microbus was affectionately known as the “Bulli”, proving that terms of endearment and the German language aren’t always compatible. While Volkswagen had a false start with their Microbus concept in 2001, the same idea is back 10 years later, and it manages to be even more contemporary while still providing Baby Boomers with a hefty shot of nostalgia.
With an 85 kilowatt motor capable of returning 300 kilometers per charge, the Bulli may not be suitable for following Phish across the U.S.A, but its zero emissions drivetrain will definitely resonate with eco-conscious citizens who smell like bong water. VW is said to be investigating more conventional engines as well.
The usual super-modern infotainment systems, including iPad integration, an audio system designed by guitar maker Fender. One throwback is the front bench seat, a feature not seen since the days when kids could afford to buy a new Volkswagen, one that came with an air-cooled engine at that.
Gallery: Volkswagen Bulli