By on March 10, 2011

The first time VW showed a retro-inspired Van concept, they said they would build it but never did. Now, having shown a new, far smaller retro-inspired microvan [gallery here], VW says they will not only build the thing, but thanks to their modular MQB platform, they’ll be able to build variations of it for markets around the world. Though VW’s development honcho Ulrich Hackenberg insists the microvan won’t be built at VW’s new plant in Chattanooga, TN, he does tell Autocar that it will be sold in the US and

aimed at the XB produced by Toyota’s youth brand, Scion.

Which means it will be built in Mexico, alongside the New Beetle. And come to think of it, the New Bulli and New Beetle seem to have quite a bit in common: both trade heavily on heritage-inspired looks while having little (if anything) to do with their actual inspirations. Which means the Baby Boomers will love it.

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27 Comments on “Bulli For You: VW To Build Microvan...”


  • avatar
    Philosophil

    “Which means the Baby Boomers will love it.”
     
    Too funny. I’m at the lower end of the boomer limits and I would look seriously at both the Bulli and Beetle for my next commuter.

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    Hmm…cool car.  The original larger concept was cooler, but this should definitely sell.  VW is fortunate to be able to mine their own heritage in this way to come up with such compelling vehicles.  More power too them.  But what history is left to exploit after this one – just the Kharman Ghia? 

    Looking forward to this one in North America, but please God, not the bloody 2.5 this time!

  • avatar
    skor

    I’m not a boomer, but I was close enough to smell the patchouli oil.
     
    I’d buy this version if it didn’t have any serious issues……..and this is coming from a guy who would rather eat a bullet than own a minivan.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Bulli, I owned a Microbus, I drove a Microbus, that Microbus was a great time in my life. Bulli, you’re no Microbus.

    In hindsight, the Microbus was an insane vehicle for American roads, and should never have been driven over 35mph, but the utter simplicity of its design and its remarkable functionality made it the icon that it became. I’ve been stunned by the way that this utterly conventional vehicle with a boxy form and two-tone paint job has gotten as much attention as it has. I guess nostalgia is an overwhelmingly powerful force, especially for those who never had the chance to experience the Microbus the first time around.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      I’ve driven Microbuses and my oldest brother owned a couple of 2nd-gen Westfalia campers so I know about life in the slow lane and dealing with stiff crosswinds. I don’t see the Bulli as a direct replacement for the old Bus. It looks more to be a practical yet retro thing in the PT Cruiser manner. At any rate, I like how it looks.

    • 0 avatar
      mpresley

      35mph?  I’ve had it with people who obviously have an old score to settle with VW.  Get real and don’t exaggerate.  The old bus was easily good to go until about 45.  And 50 if you were going downhill a lot, and with no one in front of you.

  • avatar
    pannkake

    I’d rather have a T5 with a TDI engine.  Hear that VW?  I had a Eurovan and the packaging was amazing.  Small on the outside, huge on the inside.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Aiming at the Scion xB isn’t such a lofty goal.  Sales of that nameplate are down to 1/3 of the 2006 peak, in part due to Toyota’s departure from the xB1 appeal.  The xB2 exhibits the worst features of small car bloat.
     
    Other than the hideous front end, I like the form factor of this VW microvan.  But can anyone afford to keep it on the road?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      However nice the VW might be, it will appeal to a different demographic than the Xb. Perhaps closer to the demographic Toyota originally aimed the Xb at, but hardly the ones actually shelling out cash for it. Actual buyers of the Xb, turned out to much more practical and frugal, than anyone who would buy a fashion statement, from a maker with a seriously shoddy reliability reputation. Mini buyers looking for more space, would seem a more reasonable target demographic.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    If they sell those things in the United States, how long do you think it will be before the first one shows up with flowers painted on it?

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    If you can’t put a fold-out bed and combo sink/fridge/cooker unit into it, I don’t want it.  Also, diesel.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Wolli Bulli?

  • avatar

    If this thing had reliability, great handling, and a stick, I might be tempted. I WAS tempted by the original xB, but I wasn’t impressed with the handling. (I’m from right in the middle of the boom.) One thing I like in both is the visibility out.

  • avatar

    It looks too small to be a real van, but it’d be neat if they made a camper version.  I wonder how much of the design language they’ll keep when it goes to production.  I’m trying to imagine it with the current golf/jetta front end, and it’s not working for me.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    This is all well and good, but will it have faulty electricals?

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    We know from Bertel’s reporting that VW is looking for volume to unseat Toyota as #1.
     
    Going after the Scion xB indicates they see a lot more potential there than the doubters of Scion and the xB.

  • avatar

    This is good news. With the Panthers being discontinued, the Bulli will be crucial for keeping passenger-car front bench seats alive.

  • avatar
    diseasel

    You know, I kind of like it. Assuming that VW gets the proportions right and it it is more van-like and less Scion-y compact, I might be interested.
    Should it be available with a diesel engine, 4-Motion, and a manual transmission, well, then I’d really be interested.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      TDI *and* 4Motion? That’s asking way too much! The Audi A3 TDI can’t even be had with Quattro… I don’t understand why VW will not sell a car with a TDI and AWD. Sure the Touareg TDI has it, but I have no interest in buying one of those.
       
      I like the design of this thing. But the name is pretty stupid. I hope VW does offer it with a TDI and a manual. I’d consider one to replace my Jetta when the time comes.

    • 0 avatar
      diseasel

      Brett, I totally agree with you… It’s a shame that VW doesn’t seem to make the ones we really want, eh? Oh, the name is pretty awful, although that seems to be Volkswagen tradition as of late (Tiguan, Touareg, Routan). At least the Jetta and Passat nameplates are still around.
      I looked up the specs, and according to the VW website it’ll be 66 inches tall, which is Honda CR-V territory. Perhaps they’ll see fit to throw 4-Motion in to compete with the small SUV segment and cash in on the AWD craze… hey, I can dream, right?


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