Volkswagen reveals new Microbus plans

Popular 2001 Microbus concept car will make production, Auto Express learns

Volkswagen is preparing to confirm the launch of a new Microbus, 10 years after the concept car first debuted at the 2001 Detroit Motor Show.

There's still no word on how the newcomer will look, but it's likely that the car would take at least some design inspiration from the original concpet car, pictured above.

Speaking ahead of the Los Angeles Motor Show where Volkswagen will reveal the new VW CC and show the Beetle R concept car, company bosses backed the car as a firm favourite for production.

They also revealed for the first time that the original concept car was just months away from being built, before the business case was destroyed by currency fluctuations.

According to the latest rumour, the car will be based on the firm's new B7 platform a version of which underpins the longer and wider US specification Passat.

Like the US Passat, experts say the new car could be built in the USA, at the new Chattanooga factory in Tennessee.

On sale in 2014, the Microbus will also take inspiration from the five seat Bulli concept - a crossover family car shown at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.

Both front and four-wheel-drive versions will be available, while a seven-seat variant is also believed to be under consideration.

The engine line up is yet to be confirmed, but could include Volkswagen's 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.

The US Passat also offers 2.5 and 3.6-litre V6 engines, which could be used, though would be unlikely to be available in Europe.

"The story of the original Microbus confirms why Volkswagen has to have a plant in the USA," a source at the plant explained.

"We had got as far as ordering the tooling to build this car when currency fluctuations between Europe and the US destroyed the business case."

"We have the capability to build three separate models here at the factory, and up to 250,000 cars a year and we have a target of building 150,000 Passats."

And 2013 VW Golf is confirmed too Meanwhile, Volkswagen also told Auto Express that the 2013 Volkswagen Golf will be its most important new model yet.

The car, which will be based on the firm's new MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform will provide the key architecture, chassis and engine line up for 37 new cars, due for launch between now and 2018.

That's  an increase of 16 models when compared to the current car - the A5 chassis is used by just 20 different cars - and a key element of the company's Target 2018 plan - designed to make Volkswagen the biggest carmaker on the planet.

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