Volkswagen Brings Back the Buggy in Geneva

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagen brings back the buggy in geneva

The Meyers Manx has returned, only it isn’t technically a Manx. Volkswagen built it, it’s an EV, and it isn’t actually going on sale anywhere because it’s a concept car. Our apologies to any aged beach bums we just pulled the rug from beneath.

A lot of dune buggies (including the Manx) were adapted from old VW Beetles, but the manufacturer never built any of its own — at least none for public consumption. While we don’t see that changing anytime soon, Volkswagen certainly could move forward with the I.D. Buggy if it thought it profitable. After all, nobody thought we’d see the return of the Microbus, and yet the company is currently readying an all-electric Buzz that draws almost all of its inspiration from that vehicle. We think the Buggy would pair nicely with it, even though it exists far outside the mainstream.

Riding on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, the Buggy and Buzz similarly exist to remind the public of Volkswagen’s glory days, while simultaneously pushing the electrification narrative. VW wants you to think back on the Swinging Sixties and make positive associations to what it’s doing now. Forget about the diesel scandal, forget about how it’s one of the largest automotive conglomerates in history, and just be reminded of a period when the brand was indirectly linked to peace, love, and saving the whales.

Wearing semi-flat green paint giving off an anodized look, the Buggy Concept gets a set of matching wheels wrapped in off-road rubber. Sheet metal is at a minimum here, with most of the car being predictably exposed to the elements. That theme carries over to the interior, where the majority of the controls are isolated to the steering wheel. However, VW’s choice of making them almost universally touch sensitive seems like an odd choice considering the space would presumably be hit with sand and droplets of water on a regular basis. Physical buttons would have been better, but this is a concept car so it isn’t really worth complaining about.

While it’s normally extremely easy to rule out whether or not a trade show car foreshadows a production vehicle, the Buggy makes things a little tougher. Volkswagen hasn’t said anything, and it’s really too niche to be placed on an assembly line, but the MEB platform exists to allow VW room to experiment. The company previously said the versatile MEB would open the door for more interesting vehicles, potentially from other manufacturers. Unfortunately, we get the feeling this could be a bridge too far.

Still, it’s not as though the company hasn’t thought about it. In 2011, Volkswagen revealed the Buggy Up! (below) at the Frankfurt Auto Show. While the powertrain was different, the basic idea was not. If MEB ends up being the colossal success story VW envisions, maybe you’ll see the I.D. Buggy or something like it kicking up sand in a few years.

[Images: Volkswagen]

Join the conversation
  • 4drSedan 4drSedan on Mar 07, 2019

    Ooh, I want one! What? It's electric? Oh, never mind.

    • See 2 previous
    • Yurpean Yurpean on Mar 09, 2019

      @4drSedan Since when do Big Bear campsites no longer have RV power? Did I miss something? Because last time I checked, and that was last weekend, there are plenty of 50A hookups on campsites.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 07, 2019

    I applaud the rapidity of VW's response to my request for lower beltlines. Does Under Armour get royalties on the taillamps?

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.