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VW Finally Packs it Up for the Aging Camper Van

The longest-running model in automotive history.

by on Sep.16, 2013

A well-restored British camper van.

After more than 60 years in production. Volkswagen is finally preparing to retire the classic VW Camper finally and for good.

Originally designed in the late 1940s in post-World War II Germany, the Camper has been in production since 1950 and the vehicle’s storied history makes it the longest produced model in automotive history, according to Volkswagen. It has gone by several different names over the years, i

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It became an icon of flower power in the U.S. in the 1960s when it – and the original Beetle became two of the hippie movement’s favorite forms of motorized transport. Sales of new Campers basically ended in the U.S. in 1979 when VW stopped building them at plants in Germany. However, the vans, with their distinctive shape and windows, are still prized by collectors and live on especially in Southern California where well-preserved Campers routinely can be seen roaming the region’s freeways.


Routan to Remain in VW Line-Up

Production to restart by next summer.

by on Dec.19, 2012

The VW Routan has failed to generate much interest in the weak minivan market.

Despite having scuttled plans to produce a modern-day interpretation of the legendary Microbus, Volkswagen hasn’t given up on the U.S. minivan market – but odds are that many potential buyers don’t even know about the VW Routan.

The maker’s current minivan model, assembled for VW by Chrysler, has certainly not set the market on fire, leading to a shutdown of production earlier this year. But the German maker insists the Routan will be back, with new models set to roll out of Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario minivan plant by next summer.

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Volkswagen’s plan is “to offer the 2013 model year Routan,” spokesman Scott Vaizin told Automotive News, though for now there’s apparently enough inventory to satisfy the market’s limited demand. He added that it’s “a safe bet” production will resume in 2013, as well.


VW Product Blitz Could Include New 7-Seat SUV and Bulli Microvan

But diesels are driving big gains for the German maker.

by on Aug.24, 2011

The sporty new Golf R joins VW's U.S. line-up for 2012.

With a goal of more than doubling sales – to 800,000 a year – by 2018, Volkswagen officials are rapidly ramping up the maker’s U.S. line-up and expect to have several new offerings roll into dealer showrooms over the next few years, including a 7-passenger SUV and possibly a production version of the popular Bulli microvan concept.

But the maker’s secret weapon may be its increasing reliance on diesel powertrains, which are gaining converts at a rapid rate.  Facing the prospect of tough new fuel economy regulations, Volkswagen is betting on the latest generation of oil-burners — though it will also be rolling out an array of electrified offerings, including hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, the maker’s top U.S. executive told TheDetroitBureau.com.

“Our challenge is to dig deeper” and come up with new products “appropriate for the U.S. market,” explained Jonathan Browning, the British automotive veteran who signed on as CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America last year.


The good news, he suggested, is that there is a deep well of product available within the global VW portfolio.  Even better, the long-ignored U.S. subsidiary is now high on the radar screen in Wolfsburg, which sees a strong presence in the States as essential to Volkswagen’s global ambitions.  By 2018 the maker intends to be selling 10 million vehicles annually worldwide, a target that could position it as a serious challenger to both Toyota – the global leader for the last several years – and General Motors, which is expected to regain the sales crown this year.


VW Unveils More than Just the Beetle

Automaker’s stand full as it pushes growth plans.

by on Apr.25, 2011

VW introduces its most powerful Golf.

The 2012 Beetle may be the biggest news story to emerge from this year’s New York Auto Show, but it isn’t the only new Volkswagen being shown at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center.

VW is planning big, the maker hoping to double U.S. sales, to 800,000 annually, by 2016.  And, by then, it is hoping to overcome rivals Toyota and General Motors to become the world’s largest automaker.  So, VW is rapidly rolling out a variety of new and updated products to fill gaps in its line-up.

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On its NY Auto Show stand showgoers will find not only the all-new VW Beetle, but a high-performance version of the Golf, the Bulli Concept (think Microbus for modern times) that made its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show, in March, and a refreshed Tiguan crossover.

Let’s start with the Tiguan. The news is mostly limited to styling updates and a few new standard features, including a wireless cell phone link.


First Look: Volkswagen Bulli Concept

Is this wooly Bulli the reborn VW Microbus?

by on Mar.01, 2011

Return of the Microbus? VW brings the Bulli Concept to the Geneva Motor Show.

If you remember the ‘60s, goes the old joke, you probably weren’t there during the height of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll years.  And if you fondly remember the old Volkswagen Microbus, chances are you didn’t actually own one.

But there are plenty of folks who have been desperately hoping that the German maker will finally bring back the original minivan.  They got some false hope going, back in 2001, when VW rolled out the Microbus Concept, all but promising to put it into production until someone in Wolfsburg  glumly realized it couldn’t come close to meeting today’s much tougher crash standards.

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So, enter the 2011 Volkswagen Bulli Concept.  Call it retro-futuristic, if you wish, but though the look is decidedly more modern – and, we’re betting, more than up to the latest federal requirements – there’s no mistaking its DNA.

The prototype made a semi-official sneak preview Monday night, and will take its formal bow on the Volkswagen stand during the Geneva Motor Show.