After 60-Plus Years, Volkswagen Microbus Production Will End By 2014
After more than 60 years, the Volkswagen Microbus/ Kombi is headed to that great campsite in the sky, reports Autocar. The camper van will be discontinued in the Brazilian market by 2014, as new safety rules dictate the end of the van's long production run.
Although the Microbus line dates back 60 years, the Brazilian-built Kombi evolved from the second-generation T2, known to fans as the "bay" model due to its panoramic windscreen. Debuting in late 1967, the second-gen Bus was built in Germany through 1979, when it was replaced by the T3/Vanagon, but production continued elsewhere -- notably in South and Central America. Water-cooled engines were added to Mexican and Brazilian-market Buses in 1995, forcing the addition of an odd bulbous grille to the vanlet's front fascia. Purists may balk at the new nose, but adding the water-cooled engine saved the Bus' behind when Brazilian previously clamped down on emission regulations -- the old air-cooled engine likely wouldn't have passed muster.
Ironically, a similar evolution in Brazilian vehicle code is what will bring the Kombi to its knees this time around. Starting January 2014, all new vehicles built in Brazil must be equipped with anti-lock brakes and both passenger and driver airbags, and in order for the Kombi to comply with the new regulations, it would have to become an entirely different vehicle. Instead of starting from scratch with a new Kombi, VW has decided to scrap the car altogether, ending 63 years after production after the nine-passenger van went on sale in 1950.
Brazil is the only country that still produces the Kombi, but that will all change once the last Kombis are built in December 2013 at VW's Anchieta factory in the South American country. About 251 Kombis are currently produced every day at the facility.