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Safety legislation is to kill the Volkswagen Kombi after 63 years of continuous production

The classic Volkswagen Kombi is set to finally end production next year, ending some 63 years of continuous production.

The Kombi, or VW T2 as it is known in Brazil, the only country where it is still produced, will be forced out of production due to new safety legislation coming into force in South America’s largest country.

To comply with the new Brazilian market legislation coming into effect on January 1 2014, each new model built must have ABS and come with both passenger and driver airbags.

VW’s product development chief for Brazil, Egon Feichter, told Autocar that to comply with the new legislation, the Kombi would need to become “a new car”.

It is likely the last Kombi models will be built on December 31 2013, a full 63 years after the nine-seater first went on sale in 1950.

Feichter confirmed that it was only the new safety laws that prevented the Kombi from still being built, as it conforms to every emission regulation needed for new car markets in South America where it is still sold.

The new safety legislation is only for Brazil, but its position as the largest new car market in South America by some distance means it’s not financially feasible to continue with Kombi production.

Some 251 Kombis are still produced everyday at VW’s main Anchieta factory for South America in Sao Paulo.

Feichter said that to replace the Kombi with a like for like model would be almost impossible, as “you can get two Kombis for the price of one normal car”.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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kraftwerk 25 October 2012

I had one for a while...

...a '78 that had been given a decent cosmetic restoration, but seemingly little work on the motor, which burnt a piston on the way back from a festival in Warks, filling the cab with smoke and causing some level of alarm. I had the HO4 rebuilt by a noted expert, which made a world of difference, but, by then, the romance had gone and I sold the van at a filthy profit (scene tax and all that) and bought a much more charming - and impossibly rare - Fiat 238.

TegTypeR 25 October 2012

Bulli Concept

I wonder if VW will now start to produce something along the lines of the Bulli concept they showed a couple of years ago.

That said, if my holiday in Cornwall was anything to go by, most VW van fans have now migrated to the Caravelle's as an alternative.

Suzuki QT 24 October 2012


The Bulli is missing a few letters ... "s", "h" and "t" ...