Tags: volkswagen | kombi | van | bus

Volkswagen Kombi Van, aka Volkswagen Bus, To End Our 60-Year Affair

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 06:41 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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It's the end of an era for the Volkswagen Kombi, the "hippie" minivan, or simply the "Volkswagen bus," that boasts the longest production run of any passenger automobile ever.

Wednesday marked the implementation deadline of new safety regulations, which mean Brazil, the last country to still manufacture the iconic camper, must cease production.

"The Kombi was designed 60 years ago so it would not be possible now to put an airbag and anti-lock braking system into the car. That’s why we now have to stop production," Jochen Funk, director of sales for VW Brazil, told the U.K.'s Independent.

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"It was one of the very first cars to be developed by the company," Franck Sowade, the production manager at the Sao Bernardo VW factory, told the BBC. "But to add the airbags, anti-lock braking system, and emissions modification that legislation now require would be too expensive and time consuming."

Germany originally debuted the van in 1949 (it was initially called the "Type 2"), and launched it as the Kombi the following year. It was mass-produced around the world until 1979, when the U.S. and Germany stopped making it due to the safety concerns — the design proved unsafe and likely fatal for drivers in the case of head-on collisions.

For the next 30+ years, Brazil continued to churn out the Kombis, the only vehicle that was still made by hand. But now Volkswagen has closed its Kombi chapter for good.

The automaker did, however, order a final "Last Edition" set of Kombis to be manufactured leading up to Wednesday's New Year's deadline. The 600 vehicles have reportedly been selling like crazy, according to the Independent.

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