Brazil: the country of carnivals, indescribable beauty adjacent to abject poverty, Ayrton Senna and old Volkswagen models. Only they're not old – they're new, they're just based on old designs. The original Beetle continued production there long after it had been phased out elsewhere, but the original Kombi van has lasted much longer. That ends today, however, with the iconic VW Microbus ambling out of production on the last day of 2013.

VW kept making the van in Brazil with the original air-cooled 1.2-liter boxer four until 2005, after which the original design was updated with a 1.4-liter water-cooled engine. Today, however, it ultimately falls prey to safety regulations that mandate that all vehicles – no matter how old their design – need to have airbags and ABS, forcing Volkswagen do Brasil to cease production of the Microbus after a 56-year production run. But the latest word is that the Kombi (as it's presently known) could get a stay of execution – or at least a resurrection in short order.

According to reports, the Brazilian government is looking into granting the Type 2 Microbus an exemption from said safety regulations, reasoning that the van was designed long before the advent of airbags and ABS. If the measure goes through, the Kombi Last Edition (pictured above) could prove not to be the last at all. So what do you think, should the Microbus get an exemption from Brazilian safety regulations for nostalgia's sake? Vote in our poll below, then have your say in Comments.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      GOSCH
      • 1 Year Ago
      Please bring the Bulli Concept to production model and everybody be happy!! Although VW has tons of money , they never try to build this iconic car`s next generation model.
        Teleny411
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GOSCH
        I have never understood why VW chose not to produce some sort of modern successor. It might rid the world of some bulbous crossovers.
        MikeInNC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GOSCH
        I like the Bulli but I like this a LOT more: http://www.diseno-art.com/encyclopedia/concept_cars/volkswagen_microbus.html Seems to stay a bit closer to the original yet be thoroughly modern.
      Patrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't believe these things start at $20k US. Who is still buying them? They can get modern 7-passenger cars like the Nissan Grand Livina for $3k more or the Chevrolet Spin for $1k less. What is the draw of this anachronism, other than its roomy interior and Bauhaus design?
        juststudent
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        I think in poorer country, roomy interior is king because most family could only buy one car, so you can haul the entire family (including grandparents) or all your friends in your car on a trip. I'm not sure how roomy those kombi (ride in it only once when I was about 5-6 yrs old so I don't really remember). but Grand Livina and Spin are rather cramped, especially in 3rd row seat.
      richfprentice
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why can't they keep the Kombii bus design, add ABS and airbags and make it more fuel efficient?
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yes,certain iconic vehicles like this should get special exemptions.Another vehicle that should be exempt is the Land Rover Defender in the UK.
      19secondsslow
      • 1 Year Ago
      heart says keep it - head says kill it
      Judyz
      • 1 Year Ago
      This isn't just about airbags. There are a lot of engineering improvements that have been made in automobile design over the last 50 years. VW is able to sell these dinowagons because they cost next to nothing to make and are thus pure profit. A newer design would be safer, more efficient and handle better. This thing gulps gas, belches smog, does 0-60 in a day and handles like an elephant on skates. If you ever manage to get it up to a cruising speed you will never manage to stop it or swerve in time to avoid any road hazard. People in Brasil deserve better.
        Cheetahjab
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Judyz
        You mad?
        Krazeecain
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Judyz
        Which engineering improvements? Any I can think of are just more complicated and more expensive. Axing the kombi van can and will put personal automotive transportation out of reach of thousands of people, just like the increasingly strict safety and efficiency requirements have been doing here for the last few decades. I agree that some of these required features are definitely good ideas, but we the people deserve to have a choice. Keep the kombi van, but maybe update it a bit...
          john96xlt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Krazeecain
          "Axing the kombi van can and will put personal automotive transportation out of reach of thousands of people, just like the increasingly strict safety and efficiency requirements have been doing here for the last few decades." What the hell are you talking about? There are plenty of alternatives in the Brazil market priced similarly to the Kombi. And since when have safety or efficiency enhancements put modern vehicles out of reach in the US? Cheap, used vehicles with modern safety equipment are available in the US abundantly. If you can't find yourself a cheap, reliable, safe used car on craigslist, you're not looking very hard.
      car-a-holic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Still safer than motorcycles
      Basil Exposition
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think it would be great to make an exemption to keep this icon in production. Only caveat should be: the fact that it does not meet safety standards should be publicized in every ad and on every unit similar to the surgeon general's warning on cigarettes here in the states. Freedom to buy what you want with assurance you are fully informed of what you are getting into would be the perfect situation.
        Krazeecain
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        I like this idea. They should do that in north america too. Any vehicle that does not meet certain standards should simply be advertised as such. It would open the door for many start-ups in the auto industry.
      Cabriofan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why did they put a Hitler mustache on a car that once carried a smile?
      Pat
      • 1 Year Ago
      As much as I hate to see it go, I think that it's time. Every other car marker has had to adapt and I'm sure have had to stop producing models as well. There is no doubt that if carmakers in America were given exceptions that there would still be some oldies produced here today. South America has a terrible safety record. If Brazil is to join the developed countries, it needs to adapt.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      And the Porsche 356SC should also be exempted from modern safety standards to allow Porsche to continue/resurrect production.
      mr.vw
      • 11 Months Ago
      I wish VW would bring back the bus line up like the microbus concept something that pulls on the heritage of the iconic bus. The routan was definitely not the answer as well The Bulli would do well in asia, Here north america I think most would want more utility and myself would love to see a modern westfalia. The european T5's are gorgeous but lack some of that VW Bus soul.
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