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End Of An Icon: VW Camper Soon To Be No More

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On: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 3:21PM | By: Chris Weiss


End Of An Icon: VW Camper Soon To Be No More

Many Americans probably think that the Volkswagen Transporter T2 - the VW Microbus, if you will - ended production sometime in the haze-filled days of the 1970s. Truth is, Volkswagen has been offering the T2 in South America for decades; it just traded it in for a more modernized (and less stylish) series of Transporters in markets like the United States and Europe. Unfortunately, Brazilian regulations are about to get too tough, and Volkswagen is planning the official global end of the Microbus after 63 years.

The Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter first went on sale in 1950, and the first- and second-generation models became the thing of hippie and road-tripper dreams, earning a place in auto lore as the ultimate van campers. The second-generation T2 stopped production in Germany in 1979, and while Volkswagen developed subsequent Transporter generations, none of them have had the iconic flavor or appeal of the originals.

The T2 Kombi model built in Brazil has kept the spirit of the original Microbus alive for decades. But the Microbus is finally on the cusp of reaching the same fate in Brazil as it has in the rest of the world. Impending safety regulations requiring airbags on the passenger side and driver side will go into effect in 2014 and are expected to force the bus into retirement next year.

Egon Feichter, VW’s product development chief for Brazil told Autocar that complying with the airbag regulations would turn the Kombi into an entirely new vehicle. And it's really its nostalgic, true-to-original design that makes it the Kombi, Microbus, Minibus, Bulli...to begin with. Any change and it would be little better than the Vanagon or T5.

Because Brazil is South America's largest new auto consumer, it won't be financially feasible for Volkswagen to continue Kombi production for South American countries without the same safety regulations.

Our only hope now is that VW moves forward with a Microbus for a new generation.




Comments

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ButtercupBus | 12:24PM (Mon, Dec 3, 2012)

No way? Surely they can find a discreet way to fulfill the regulations. It would be a crying shame to stop production. I can see spares getting harder to find!!!



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