Volkswagen is holding firm on plans to revive the Microbus.
A decade after unveiling a modern day interpretation of the Volkswagen people mover in concept car form at the 2001 Detroit auto show, the German car maker’s head of design, Klaus Bischoff, has confirmed that in-house designers, including those from the company’s Simi Valley based Californian studio, have been asked to submit new proposals for a boxy seven seater incorporating the inherent spirit and design ethos of the original Microbus.
“We’re trying to figure out how conventional or creative to go,” says Bischoff on the state of the recently re-ignited new model program which, after the cancellation of the former proposal less than a year out from planned production at Volkswagen's Hannover commerical vehicle plant in Germany in 2004, now aims to place the new-age Microbus on sale by 2014.
But while the earlier concept (see accompanying image) was conceived around commercial vehicle underpinnings from the Volkswagen Transporter, the latest designs have the born again Microbus sitting on a passenger car structure that lends chassis elements from the third-generation Touran and eight-generation Passat.
The new unitary structure is just one of an extensive number of variants set to come from Volkswagen’s new MQB (denoting the German for Modular Transverse Architecture) platform.
The switch in underpinnings is expected to make the new Microbus smaller than originally hinted to by the early concept with an overall length around 4800mm. However, clever packaging of the rear seat is likely to provide it with seven seat capacity in a move similar to that undertaken with the Volkswagen Touran and recently introduced, second-generation Sharan – the latter of which the Microbus is set to share sliding rear doors among other features.
Set to get an airing in concept car form in 2012, the new-for-2014 Microbus is part of a €51.6 billion ($70.3 billion) Volkswagen has announced it will pour into the development of new models over the next five years (see separate story here: http://theautoinsider.blogspot.com/2010/11/volkswagen-plans-703-billion-investment.html )