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.

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