VW Kombi Journey Ends
Volkswagen will no longer produce the Kombi campervan. A tear will be shed by many camping fans and surfers because of the death of the caravan. The Kombi, with surfboards on top, is seen as an icon for hippy and beach culture. Although it is shaped like a loaf, the VW is still an object of desire for many young-at-heart campers. However, they’ll stop producing the popular caravan at the end of next year. This will mark the end of 63 years of cool camper design, as Volkswagen started selling the nine-seater in 1950.
You can’t buy it in the UK as they only produce them in Brazil and the reason that they will cease production is because of new safety legislation. Brazil is the only country that still makes the Kombi, however their government will make safety rules stricter.
Starting on 1 January 2014, all Brazilian cars need to be produced with ABS and air bags. With these new rules the Brazilian government ‘forces’ Kombi, or VW T2 as Brazilians call the camper, production to come to an end. Product development chief Egon Feichter said that if they want to continue producing the Kombi, it will need to become a completely different car. Volkswagen does meet every emission regulation standard in South America, but feels it is not financially feasible to meet the new safety laws. The new legislation is only for Brazil, however this is Volkswagen’s largest car market in South America.
They build the campers at the Anquiete factory in Sao Paulo where they build 251 new VW’s every day. In the Brazialian car market Volkswagen sales are second only to Fiat and more than 20% of the cars sold there are VW’s.
The campers at your local caravan dealer look a little different to those made in Brazil though. For £13,700 you get a camper with space for nine people, a boot ledge above the engine in the back and a spare tyre. There is a steering wheel, speedometer, gear lever and a handbrake. There is no air-conditioning, ventilation fans, electric window or stereo but the van has a lot of charm.
Because you sit so high you get a great view of the road ahead with a steering wheel that is laid out flat in front of you like a double decker bus. The suspension works fine, but steering is hard work and also the four-speed manual proves a challenge. It’s basically moving the lever and hoping you get the right gear. In other words, there are most certainly some cons about this Volkswagen but it is still a charming and desirable caravan. Don’t you think?
Author bio: Rens van der Windt is a Dutchman living in London. He works for searchstarz.com and enjoys travelling the world.