VW’s design chief Bischoff confirms plans for a new Microbus

Article by Christian A., on November 22, 2010

German carmaker Volkswagen AG is currently developing a new car with global influences, according to design chief Klaus Bischoff, in an exclusive interview with Auto Express at the Los Angeles Auto Show in California.

Bischoff also said that he believes its part of his job to bring back the Camper. Bischoff also talked about plans to launch the Microbus concept, which was showcased at the 2001 Detroit Motor Show (2001 North American International Auto Show). There was definitely a public demand for the model but it failed to take off due to cost.

The 2011 Volkswagen Microbus Concept Car -- also known as the Volkswagen New Microbus and Volkswagen Microbus Concept – evokes the original Volkswagen Microbus. Compared to its Volkswagen Type 2 predecessor, the Microbus Concept was very modern, donning a seven-inch screen in the center console and another seven-inch screen on the ceiling.

In terms of styling, the Volkswagen Microbus Concept features design cues from the T1 generation. Volkswagen announced in June 2002 that the Microbus would be produced starting 2003 at its Hannover manufacturing plant. To be underpinned by the platform of the T5 light van, the Microbus would have had production numbers of 80,000 units by 2005. It would have been sold in the United States in 2007.

In 2004, Volkswagen scrapped the Microbus in May 2004, replaced the vehicle with a more cost-effective design. In 2005, VW announced that Chrysler would build minivans for Volkswagen in the US and badge it as the Volkswagen Routan, while the VW Transporter Multivan would fill the niche intended for the new Microbus. Thus in September 2008, VW commence sales of the Routan in North America. At the same time, there was a report that the Microbus Concept might actually see production.

But now, plans are “back on the drawing board.” The main issue now is to determine the type of car that should be built – whether it should be a traditional MPV, with a conventional interior, or if it should lean towards a bolder, more flexible, versatile machine.

One option is to stick to the features of the original model. Bischoff also said that for this European project, the company is working with design teams in California as well as from the other countries. At this point, it appears that the model is likely to be shown in 2012 at the earliest.

For this year, Los Angeles Auto Show is scheduled November 18 to 27, 2011. Press days were set on November 16 and 17 while the Sneak Preview Night was held on November 17, 2011.

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Topics: vw, minivan

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