The next-generation Volkswagen Beetle isn't expected to launch until 2019, but rumour has it that the retro hatchback will be joined by a number of niche spinoff variants including the long-awaited baby Kombi van.
German website AutoBild.de claims Volkswagen has already made concrete plans to expand the Beetle range, which in its next-generation form will be built on the brand's highly flexible Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) underpinnings. As such, offering numerous derivatives other than the current two-door hatch and convertible versions would be justifiable, the site claims.
While it's unclear whether each of these unique spinoff models would bear the Beetle name, the report suggests models such as a new-generation retro-inspired baby Kombi - as was presaged by the 2011 Bulli concept - is one such bodystyle under consideration. The story states the new Bulli model will share elements of the European market Touran and the Golf Sportsvan models, unlike the concept which was based upon the tiny Volkswagen Up! city car.
Alongside that model could be a sports variant fitted with 300 horsepower (221kW), which would likely use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as is seen in the current Golf R. This model may resurrect the Karmann Ghia name, the report suggests, and could boast a sleek two-door coupe body reminiscent of the classic, round-edged model with "a high beltline, narrow windows and a distinctive hood roof".
Volkswagen is also said to be considering an all-terrain version of the Beetle, which was previewed by the Beetle Dune concept which debuted at the 2014 Detroit auto show. This model may boast a hybrid drivetrain with all-wheel-drive, the story suggests.