Is VW Thinking About a New Microbus Again?

By Brendan Moore

There has been a lot of chatter on VW fan-boy sites ( as well as other auto sites) lately about Volkswagen reviving the beloved Microbus again. Volkswagen seems to be complicit in that chatter by stating the following on their company Facebook page: “If you’re interested in seeing the Microbus on this side of the pond, now would be a good time to let your voice be heard!” Not to mention that the company is also soliciting opinions on just what would be a good name for the revived vehicle.

Further fanning the flames, Klaus Bischoff, head of design for every vehicle Volkswagen makes, told British publication Auto Express a few months ago, “I would not be doing my job at Volkswagen properly if I was not thinking of bringing back the Camper.”

The Microbus achieved iconic status in the United States, just like the rest of the world, sometime ago, so bringing the van back would be a pretty high-percentage bet, However, if you recall, VW showed off some sharp-looking concepts starting in 2001, then gave the green light for production of the sharp-looking concept for the 2007 model year, and then decided to pull the plug, citing cost issues and uncertain volume forecasts.

Instead, VW decided to do a deal with Chrysler to re-badge a Chrysler minivan as a Volkswagen Routan, which will never reach iconic status and is not moving a lot of copies every year, either. Volkswagen will be lucky to make 16,000 units of the Routan go across the curb in the 2010 calendar year.

But, those same issues of high development costs, high production costs and iffy sales projections are still present in any calculations VW is doing regarding a new Microbus, so the Microbus rising from the ashes like a Teutonic phoenix is still very much in doubt. And, even if the Microbus is brought back, it is very possible that it may not be sold in the United States, a la the Scirocco.

We’ll let you know as soon as we know something…

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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7 Comments

  1. Not only was that concept nice to look at from the outside, it had a lot of nice luxury equipment and materials inside, which is even more reason why we probably won’t see it sold in the U.S.

    But we’ve got the Routan!

    So, we got that going for us… which is nice.

  2. The 2001 prototype is a very good looking vehicle, the perfect blend of the Micro-Bus’s past with a bridge to the future. What I really like about it is it looks like a VW, quite a feat in these days of look alike people movers.

  3. I would be very interested in the new Micro. Kind of the anti-minivan.

  4. Maybe VW can allocate some space in their new factory in America to build the Microbus, and that way they can cover themselves against currency exchange issueS.

    Then I can maybe buy one which would make me happy.

  5. What I like about that concept Microbus is that it has a kind of retro COE (cab over engine) look up front. It’s cool-looking in that regard. I love that look.

  6. I totally agree with Rupert about the 2001 prototype’s ‘look’ bridging the gap between modern technology and the fabled Microbus of the past. In fact, it seems that everyone is in agreement that VW should bring it back. But VW is an incredibly conservative organization. Hmmmm… Okay, so we click our heels together and say, “There’s no van like like the Microbus.” No, I think I heard the ruby slippers have been stolen. But let me know when Volkswagen comes to its senses, and I’ll be first in line to buy one.

  7. Given that some of the chatter about a second coming of the ‘new’ Microbus is centred around it being based of the next generation Touran underbody and driveline…one could expect that this will not be a ‘full size van’ like the Routan (or the RoW Multivan) rather it’ll be a seven seater premium MPV powered by the same driveline one finds on the current Golf or Jetta.

    Hard to imagine that going over with enthusiasm in North America.

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