The rebirth of the Microbus has become a bit of an obsession for Volkswagen in recent years. We've had the Bulli and Budd-e, but no sign of anything for production. Until now.

The new ID Buzz concept, revealed on the eve of the Detroit motor show, is set to go into production in 2022 so long as the business case is proven out, finally giving the firm a stylistic successor to the iconic original.

So why the obsession with reinventing the Microbus? Has there even been a concept car reinvented so many times without ever making production? Indeed, recreating a large MPV,  no matter how iconic, seems quite an odd thing to do anyway given the whole industry has gone SUV mad.

The previous concepts, despite a will from VW to put them into production, never got further than a debate on proportions. VW designers just weren't happy with how they looked, as the platform wasn't there for the famed one box shape.

Read more about the ID Buzz concept here

"Now we have the proportions right," said VW design chief Klaus Bischoff. "We can tick the boxes better than before, with the drivetrain and interior too. The other concepts struggled, as the combustion engine didn't allow the proportions. We failed with the original showcars coming to market. Now we have the possibility again."

So the car is now possible due to the MEB electric platform that will be introduced first on a family hatchback due in 2020 and previewed by Paris's ID concept. The batteries all in the floor and motors at the rear, allowing the body on top to become hugely spacious and flexible, and the one-box shape possible as there's no engine needed at the front.

That's the technical side, but why bother with making a new MPV anyway? Intriguingly, Bischoff himself acknowledges the fact that the MPV "is not hugely favoured today".

Read more Detroit motor show news here

But he believes the new electric platform technology "might change" the SUV love in back in favour of MPVs again almost as quickly as he SUV has nearly killed the MPV due to the space and flexibility benefits.

"We do that [an electric MPV concept] to stand out and show we can offer so much space that people will love it and its flexibility. We consider it an attractive offer."

It's a bold claim, and relies on the obvious goodwill for the Microbus turning into hard sales in he future and a reversing of the trend towards SUVs. It's a good job VW is also planning an electric SUV off the same platform in case it doesn't work...