If you are a big fan of the Volkswagen Bus, you are probably well-aware of its history. But let’s refresh your memory. The first Type 2 bus hit the market back in 1950 and didn’t stop production in the North American market until 1979. That’s a long history for any vehicle. Believe it or not, production of the bus is still going strong in Brazil. The sad news is that production will be halted next year. That’s 63 years – the longest running vehicle in production.
You have to consider that the original Volkswagen Beetle remained in production until 2004. Even up until last year, you could get a brand new original Golf if you were in South Africa. All of these vehicles managed to stay off the chopping block of a normal product cycle. But the Reaper is coming to call on the Volkswagen Bus now.
Branded as the “Kombi” in Brazil, it has managed to stay alive and well all of these years. There are millions of them in the form of ambulances, work vans and vehicles full of memories. But updated safety standards for the 2014 model year is the terminal illness that now plagues that brand.
All new vehicles must have airbags for the driver and passenger, anti-lock brakes and must follow emissions regulations. With those updates, development chief Egon Feichter says that the Kombi “would have to become a new car” in order to comply with those changes. That means that meeting those regulations would cost too much to produce the Kombi. “You can get two Kombis for the price one normal car.” So the decision was made to halt its production in December of next year in order to spare that huge expense. But you can still buy one of the 251 Volkswagen Kombi vans that are still being churned out each day at Brazil’s Planta Anchieta São Bernardo do Compo. Otherwise, you might want to say “adeus” before the end arrives.