Our love affair with things of the past has spurred the resurgence of several products in recent years — Crystal Pepsi, Zima, Clearly Canadian to name a few. Volkswagen is hoping to parlay this affection for the throwback into big sales by redesigning one of its most emblematic models, the microbus, with a modern twist.
VW announced today that it would hop in a time machine, travel to the 1960s, and bring back the microbus in a new, electric version, dubbed the I.D. Buzz.
VW first unveiled the new van as a concept vehicle early this year, but it was unclear at the time if the company had its sights on reviving the model.
“After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car’,” Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess said in a statement.
The van — expected to be available in North America, Europe, and China starting in 2022 — is designed as a “perfect balance” between usability and the past, appealing to “Hippies and families in the Sixties or Surfer Dudes and Van Lifers today.”
Still, the company isn’t counting on just nostalgia to sell the vans, it’s also hoping technology will spur sells. The new van will incorporate multi-variable seating, interactive connectivity, and highly automated driving.
It is also designed to haul both people and freight. With batteries mounted in the vehicle floor, the I.D. Buzz comes with a spacious interior and great proportions, the company says.
Additionally, VW says it will offer a commercial version of the van, dubbed the I.D. Buzz Cargo, to complete zero-emission deliveries.
A Microbus History
VW first introduced the world to the van — known as the Type 2, Transporter, Kombi, or Microbus — in 1950.
Over the years, VW launched different versions of the van, many taking on drastically different looks than the traditional Type 2 that calls back to the 60s.
These vehicles were discontinued over time. Autocar reported in 2012 that the Type 2 series T2 ceased production in 2013. The decision came after changes to safety regulations in Brazil, the last place the car was manufactured. The T6, which has less of a resemblance to the original microbus, is still in production.