Volkswagen research and development chief, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, explained the six-seat modern Kombi was compatible with the brand’s new MDS (modular design system) platform, which up until now has been referred to as the MQB (German translation: ‘modular transverse matrix’).
Dr Hackenberg explained the advantage of building the production Bulli on the MDS platform was its versatility, with the ability to vary the track and wheelbase dimensions to “make it feasible for different markets”.
The Puebla plant in Mexico is the most likely site for production of the new Kombi, where it would be built alongside the born-again New Beetle.
Dr Hackenberg did not set a timeline on the Bulli concept production project.
The Bulli concept shown at last week’s Geneva Motor Show was a fresh take on the 2001 Volkswagen Microbus concept, which itself was a modernised version of the traditional Kombi van that was launched more than 60 years ago.
The Bulli concept is an all-electric vehicle powered by a lithium-ion battery pack driving an 85kW/270Nm electric motor.
Volkswagen insists the vehicle layout was designed to accommodate the brand’s small-capacity turbocharged petrol and diesel engines as well, improving its potential as a mass-scale production vehicle.
Inside, the Bulli features two rows of bench seats making it a genuine six-seater, and maintains some of the practicality of the original, with 370 litres of luggage space in the boot and 1600 litres with the rear bench folded down.
The Bulli’s infotainment system is controlled by a removable iPad, which slots into the centre console and displays the vehicle’s audio, phone and navigation systems.
At the unveiling of the Bulli concept, Volkswagen said the vehicle had the potential to establish itself as an integral part of the brand’s people mover range, alongside the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and Caravelle models, and at the same time reintroduce the spirit of iconic Volkswagen vehicles of the past like the T1 Samba.
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