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?

  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.
  • Jeanbaptiste The bubble free dash on the R32!