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Every new auto show brings another exciting round of wild concept cars. But do these ideas ever make it to reality?
Some do, but many don’t – or they’re so “evolved” that you wouldn’t recognize them. As a result, it’s often tough to get excited about these often far-flung concepts.
Originally slated to hit dealerships, historically, many get dropped from the lineup before they ever see the production line. Here are some of the very best concepts, that are now just collecting dust.
Volkswagen executives are reportedly “very serious” to add the Bulli to their production lineup, as part of a “Heritage Range.”
So far, this range consists of the Beetle, and…well, nothing else. But given the cult status of the old Microbus, and the overwhelmingly positive response of the Bulli at various auto shows, and VW is eager to chase the dollar of nostalgia-tripping baby boomers.
On the road to production, the Bulli would keep its five-seater capacity but lose its electric powerplant, instead going for a conventional range of shared gasoline and diesel engines. If it enters production—as soon as 2014, in fact—it would be built in Puebla, Mexico, alongside a Beetle convertible that will debut next year.
Lastly, the Bulli would serve in the MPV market, and it would be slightly longer than the Golf—but its heritage styling would give it a unique place in VW’s lineup. “As a designer, I am convinced by this idea,” said Walter de’Silva, VW’s design chief. “We don’t have a space for another conventional MPV, but this one would be desirable on a different level, combining practicality with the heritage appeal.”
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