The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept that made its debut at the 2017 Detroit auto show strongly hinted at VW’s intention to build a successor to the iconic microbus, but the automaker gave no solid commitment to do so. Though Volkswagen has up until now only voiced its strong desire for a new microbus, Automotive News has learned that the brand does indeed plan to produce one eventually.
Speaking to an unnamed VW source, AN says a reimagined bus (called Transporter or Bulli in Germany) will arrive in five years.
“I know what you’re going to ask and the answer is 2022. [VW brand chief Herbert Diess] wants it,” the source said.
Diess is reportedly pushing hard for a new bus partly because it evokes memories of VW’s good old days, before the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal. According to AN’s sources, the I.D. Buzz concept is very close to the production model that will be built in 2022. Features exclusive to the show car include the retractable steering wheel and the front window design, as the glass can’t be rolled down in the concept. But design features like the illuminated glass VW logo could make it to production.
A production version of the I.D. Buzz would debut on the all-electric MEB platform, which will be shared with a production I.D. hatchback and many other future models. As we’ve previously reported, MEB is a skateboard-like chassis that can support virtually any body shape designers can imagine. The battery packs, electric motors, and suspension components are all housed in the chassis, freeing up precious cabin space. The I.D. Buzz makes use of that with its configurable lounge-like interior and a true cab-forward design like the original microbus.
Volkswagen has said we’ll see a production I.D. hatchback first in 2020. We now know the microbus successor will arrive two years later, followed by fully autonomous driving features in 2025.