Gone in the U.S. for 34 years, it is only now being discontinued in South America
It's been known as the Microbus. The Minibus. The Transporter Kombi. The Volkswagen Type 2. Owners of the much loved van also have their own names for a van that was an icon for a generation in the U.S. Whatever you want to call it, the last one is rolling off the assembly line in Brazil this month, marking the end of an era and passage of history.
No, the picture above is not that of a fully restored Volkswagen Bus. It is actually a 2012 Volkswagen Kombi that is still in production in Brazil... for now. Due to tougher safety regulations, the Kombi's days are numbered as Brazil's government is requiring all new cars to come with dual front airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard equipment. No word on a replacement for the long-lived Kombi, but it won't be the VW Bulli.
We record Episode #299 of the Autoblog Podcast tonight, and you can drop us your questions and comments via our Q&A module below. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Volkswagen is on a mission to dominate sales in almost ever category, with a goal of selling one million Audis and VWs yearly in the United States by 2018. Projected U.S. sales of both brands for 2012 is only 565,000. To bridge that gap, analysts say the two brands will need to compete in almost every sales category.
We're big fans of the Volkswagen bus, from the original Type 2 and its descendants, to the Vanagon that replaced it, and even the front-drive Eurovan. While VW hasn't sold one of these in the U.S. since it discontinued the Eurovan in 2003, the rest of the world has enjoyed the Transporter T5 for the past decade. The VWs are immensely popular camper vans in Europe (especially those with pop-top roofs), and the novel Doubleback conversion shown above takes the formula to another level.
Robert Llewellyn loves himself some plug-in cars, and he proves this on every episode of Fully Charged. In the latest video, Llewellyn discusses solar energy, including how his residential solar panel installation powers his Nissan Leaf 1,000 miles for less than nine bucks. Llewellyn finishes the episode with a drive in the quirky electric Mia microbus.
Pictured here is the three-seat electric microbus from French-German firm Mia Electric that was on display at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and this year's Challenge Bibendum. With a central driving position, twin sliding doors, a rear-mounted electric motor and dent-resistant plastic panels, the Mia is oddly unique. It tips the scales at 1,786 pounds, has a listed range of 80 miles and comes packing a 13-horsepower motor. No, that's not a typo. Just thirteen horses are tasked with moving a near on
If there's any one vehicle that can realistically challenge the Beetle in the annals of historic Volkswagens, it's the Transporter. More often referred to as the Microbus or just the Bus, the real original minivan first saw the light of day in 1950 as the Type 2 (the Beetle, naturally, was the Type 1).
Talk about an international collaboration. Currently on display at the Geneva Motor Show, the electric mircrobus Mia will be manufactured in China by a small French-German company called Mia Electric, powered by batteries built in Israel and developed by EVida (which has offices in the US, UK, and Israel) and sold in Europe come 2012. There currently are three models to choose from that will seat one to four people, depending on configuration.
Volkswagen is one of those brands that evokes a lot of nostalgia. The Who is an iconic band from the 60's. That's why when Volkswagen decided to revisit the Microbus concept they looked to members of The Who for guidance. While not only playing a song titled Magic Bus, The Who also used a VW Camper for touring in their early years of existence. They encouraged Volkswagen by expressing interest in a more economical and safer update of the Camper.
var digg_url = 'http://digg.com/design/Artist_creates_life_sized_VW_Bus_out_of_wood'; Well, this is interesting. By his own account, sculptor Lee Stoetzel is "very interested in the far-reaching power of nature." If you needed further evidence of this, it's currently being displayed at the Mixed Greens Gallery in New York in the form of an almost-full-scale VW Transporter built out of wood and steel (but mostly wood). The craftsmanship is very impressive, and if you've simply gotta have it, y
You may remember our post on the 24 Hours of LeMons last October, but if not we'll refresh your memory. The 24 Hours of LeMons (pronounced like "lemons" if you didn't get the joke yet) is an endurance race of cars purchased and prepped for $500 bucks or less. The entire event is perhaps the greatest automotive parody we've ever encountered, with the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans being the subject of its satire.
What do the 1980 Chevy Monza and the 1973 VW Microbus have in common? They are among Car Talk hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi's Top 10 Scariest Cars list. Of the Monza they say, " Whenever one of these beauties reared its ugly grille in front of the garage, every mechanic with more than six weeks' experience would go running for the men's room and lock the door." Another car on the list, the 1987 Ford Festiva, gets this derision from the brothers: "We once got in trouble for saying this car came rig