Sub-brands are emerging as the latest trend, particularly among German automakers. BMW has rolled out its new i family of electric vehicles. Audi looks poised to spin the TT off into its own line with added bodystyles. Mercedes-Benz is expected to bring the Maybach name, once its own brand, back as a model designation at the top of the S-Class range. And now Volkswagen is rumored to be planning more retro models to follow in the footsteps of the Beetle.

Volkswagen Beetle Dune ConceptWord on the street in Germany is that, after three generations of Beetle, VW is weighing the possibility of expanding its retro offerings. According to Autobild, Among those in contention to join the Beetle hatchback and convertible are a sportier Beetle coupe with an even sportier roofline than the latest Bug, a soft-roader in the mold of the Beetle Dune concept (pictured at right) and a Micro-bus minivan revival like the Bulli concept (pictured above).

If those prove as successful as the Beetle itself, who knows what other members VW could add to the family? Like the expected next-generation Beetle, the entire family would almost certainly be based on the flexible new MQB modular architecture that already underpins the VW Golf, Audi A3, Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia.

Of course, if some – or all – of this sounds familiar, that's because we've heard rumors of expanded Beetle ranges and production Bulli Microbus throwbacks many times before. Even though Autobild is normally reliable, if you're like us, you'll take this latest report with a whole box of salt.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      The Wasp
      • 7 Months Ago
      Cool, VW. You're only about 15 years late to the game...remember, back when the New Beetle was a retro success? It's too late now. If this does ever go forward, keep in mind that the success of the Beetle and the Microbus was largely because they could be had with absolutely zero bells and whistles and an accordingly low price. Modern VW has no interest in base models nor low prices so I think this would be hard for them to manage.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Retro family? How about designs that are not run-of-the-mill that in only some obscure way harken back to previous design hallmarks.
      • 7 Months Ago
      It is not about retro, it is about utility. The old buses were infinitely useful without the bloat included with contemporary C/SUVs. Same goes for the Beetle, decent transportation and low cost. New Beetles are expensive a he** to purchase and fix.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Exactly. VW will make this and it will cost $40k. It will sell to trendies in low volume. It won't be competitive and once the trendiness wears off, nobody will want it. Still, it is very cool.
      • 7 Months Ago
      This 'concept' was to compete with the Scion Xb. Anyone thinking this is a 'minivan' ought to look up the pictures at the Geneva show from a few years back - it's no minivan, in fact, it's more of a fat, short, fat, box not long enough to crash out in. It's SMALL. VW remains lost inside a fairly land of concepts and false promises to the USA market, and as a long time (since 1976) user/owner of their cars, I'm totally uninterested in any of their various 'promises' or concepts. I would like to see the TOURAN, VW!!! It's actually a PRACTICAL vehicle you already produce that is actually more USEABLE than your mini-me Bulli concept. Can we just stop with the VW concept/ideas/promises for a while? At least until they ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING? Oh, and that includes the no one asked for Grand Cherokee wanna-be?
      • 7 Months Ago
      A new Thing??? :)
      • 7 Months Ago
      You could mod the hell out of this.. Make it. (diesel while yer at it..) Jim
      • 7 Months Ago
      Sigh. It almost seems like VW is deliberately trying to kill this horse (introducing over and over and over again, the idea that they are going to bring a micro-bus). I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it.
      Mike Cornell
      • 7 Months Ago
      Is anyone getting a little tired of VW trying to make up it's mind to do this or that? They should've done a new Transporter/Kombi years ago...just figure out how to make it efficient and affordable. Also, whatever happened to the Jetta/Golf Alltrak wagon that was supposed to slot in below the Tiguan? Polo anyone?Scirocco?Up? Enough already. VW could, probably should but most likely won't.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Bulli TDI 4motion please
      • 7 Months Ago
      The New Beetle was popular at the start, but like many retro designs the novelty wears off. However I think if they did a line of retro themed vehicles as a sub-brand niche it might give Mini a good challenge. They could do the minivan concept plus a small crossover and even a two seater. No, don't make them all look like the Beetle. But add some retro flair from past VW products and it could sell.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Dear VW: Let's see. By my recall, it seems that you have been showing pictures of this style of van since at least 2001. Take your pick: fear or stupidity. Which of these conditions have been holding you back? John K
      • 7 Months Ago
      Dear VW It seems like i've been waiting for the bus forever. Just build it already!
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