VW's Bulli Concept
The Volkswagen Bus: facilitator of family road trips, pleasure pad of hippies, instigator of the infamous "chicken tax". After 63 years of production, it's finally heading to that showroom in the sky.
If you live in the U.S., you could be excused for thinking that the Bus -- officially known as the "Type 2" and by model names like the Microbus, Kombi, and Transporter -- died long ago. But that's only because America stopped importing the Type 2 in the late 1970s. Elsewhere in the world, VW has continued churning them out.
Alas, according to AutoNews, the Bus has reached its final stop. The last units will be completed by the end of the year, rolling out of the model's only remaining facility in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil.
Why now? It appears that even Brazil -- feisty, go-it-alone, laissez-faire Brazil -- has caught the safety bug. New governmental regulations have effectively driven the VW Bus off of Brazil's roads.
IS IT REALLY DEAD?
We freely admit that the Bus has seen better days. But can a model with 63 years of production history really be all that bad? Doesn't it seem that the Bus has something, a certain je ne sais quoi (or whatever the German equivalent is), that some shoppers truly crave?
Those cravings could be met by the Volkswagen Bulli.
The Bulli debuted at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Though it was just a concept, the Bulli generated huge buzz among journalists and the general public -- so much buzz that Volkswagen allegedly considered putting it into production. Granted, those rumors expected the Bulli to roll out last year, but then, VW wouldn't be the first automaker to miss a deadline.
The Bulli is the perfect follow-up to the Type 2. It's got a silhouette to please both modern-minded families and those nostalgic for the original bus. And on the inside, it's got all the creature comforts we've come to expect from 21st century rides.
Given the growing number of similar, boxy rides on the road nowadays, we think there could be a huge market for the Bulli. We'll let you know if and when Volkswagen feels the same.