What’s old is new; what once was cool is cool once more. At least that’s the case with Volkswagen’s classic microbus. Icon of the late 1960s and 70s, the “slug worm” fell out of style (apart from the surfer troop) for a number of decades, but has recently enjoyed a resurgence.
Microbus models that could be picked up for a few thousand dollars just five years ago are now selling for five, ten, or even twenty times more. Volkswagen hasn’t been on the best footing since the Dieselgate crisis, but it appears the German automaker has timed one thing perfectly: it’s reinvestment in the Microbus shape.
After an overwhelmingly positive reception to its I.D. Buzz Concept that debuted at this year’s Detroit Motor Show, VW has announced it will build a production version of the microbus.
“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 brand CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.
Like the concept, the production VW van will utilize an all-electric powertrain and a number of semi-autonomous features to blend old school style with modern tech. In addition to a consumer version for North America, Europe, and China, Volkswagen will build a commercial model called the I.D. Buzz Cargo. The commercial vehicle will compete with models like the RAM ProMaster City, Nissan NV200, and Ford Tansit Connect.
An electric motor paired with a retro design might seem like an odd pairing, but Diess says it’s the only way to get the Microbus styling right.
“We’ve tried six or seven times to bring back the Microbus over the years. It was never right. When you added an engine to the design, it changed everything.”
The production I.D. Buzz will boast a range of 270+ miles and is due for release in 2022. That should give you plenty of time to tie-dye your wardrobe and find some over-sized peace signs.