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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen’s head designer believes creating a ‘heritage range’ of vehicles – including the Beetle and a production version of the Bulli concept – could be a good way to stave off competition of rising manufacturing forces from Korea and China.

Volkswagen Group design chief Walter de’Silva told Autocar adding the Bulli (known as the Kombi and Microbus in some markets) to what he labelled the heritage range should be considered an important part of the brand’s business case going forward.

“As a designer, I am convinced by this idea,” Mr de’Silva said.

“We don’t have a space for another conventional MPV, but this one would be desirable on a different level, combining practicality with the heritage appeal.”

The Volkswagen Bulli concept made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and has been at the centre of production rumours ever since.

The six-seater concept unveiled at Geneva was an all-electric vehicle powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and an 85kW/270Nm electric motor.

It maintained some of the practicality of the original van from more than 60 years ago, with 370 litres of boot space and 1600 litres with the rear bench folded flat.

It is likely the production version will drop down to a more conventional five-seat layout and will feature Volkswagen’s range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.

It is understood Volkswagen is targeting a 2014 model year entry, with production to start in 2013.

According to reports, the heritage range could be built under one roof, with the Bulli potentially joining the Beetle and Beetle cabrio in Puebla, Mexico.