Microbus-inspired mini MPV gets bosses' approval
Steve Cropley Autocar
13 August 2011

Volkswagen chiefs are “very serious” about putting a conventionally powered version of the Bulli electric MPV concept into production as the second strand of a VW heritage range alongside the new Beetle.

The car, whose styling recalls the Microbus of the 1960s, was first shown in Geneva last March and drew immediate acclaim.

See pics of the VW Bulli concept

The Bulli is a five-seater that’s slightly bigger overall than a Polo. It is believed to be earmarked for production at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, where the third-generation Beetle is made using VW’s latest modular platform. This plant is also due to begin production of a Beetle cabrio early next year.Insiders believe the Bulli would rapidly become a cult car and sell especially well in the US, where the Microbus is fondly remembered. Production could start for the 2014 model year.

“As a designer, I am convinced by this idea,” says group design chief Walter de’Silva. “We don’t have a space for another conventional MPV, but this one would be desirable on a different level, combining practicality with the heritage appeal.”

VW bosses believe the firm must do more to emphasise its heritage in the face of accelerating Korean and Chinese competition. De’Silva believes the Bulli’s role in building VW’s heritage should be counted as part of its business case.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375
    First Drive
    20 January 2017
    Does an official Mountune upgrade of 25bhp and 30lb ft, improve the already rampant and rather magnificent Ford Focus RS?
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics
  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be