Could VW Bring Commercial Vans to U.S. Before Pickups?

I.D._BUZZ_CARGO--8856 copy II

Volkswagen may not have a mid-size pickup truck ready for the U.S. yet, but it seems to be heading in that direction. However, VW does have one vehicle that's possibly closer to production: The recently revealed I.D. Buzz Cargo electric van concept that debuted at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany. The I.D. Buzz bears a striking resemblance to earlier versions of the So Cal-inspired surf vans from the 1960s and '70s.

The concept van is the result of a partnership between VW's automobile and commercial divisions with the idea that it can be configured to accommodate specific company and driver needs to achieve anywhere between 200 and 340 miles of range. The I.D. Buzz has photo cells on the roof to extend range, a payload capacity of 1,760 pounds and a wheelbase of 130 inches. Not coincidently, those are solid numbers for a mid-size pickup truck, which could be the next iteration off the same platform.

This futuristic all-wheel-drive transporter features tons of high-tech convenience features to provide several levels of autonomous driving modes, quick charging for the vehicle itself and several docking stations for onboard tool storage and charging. VW implied it could build the electric van by 2021; the concept seems to have energized both dealers and commercial van fans. Entering the U.S. commercial vehicle market with a cargo van before branching out to pickups — emulating Mercedes-Benz' strategy — wouldn't be a bad tactic for VW.

If VW cannot modify its existing global Amarok pickup platform to accommodate U.S. crash test standards, create something off the full-size Atlas SUV platform or come up with a completely new vehicle with Ford, the I.D. Buzz Cargo van could be the German automaker's entr‚e into the growing mid-size pickup truck class. Only time will tell.

Manufacturer images

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Comments

Could VW Bring Commercial Vans to U.S. Before Pickups?

yes, but they won't.

When was the last time VW did ANYTHING that was competitive here in the US? Their products are hopelessly behind the rest of the market with regard to technological prowess, price and position in the market. They recently brought the very nice Atlas SUV to the US market exactly 10 years after every one of its competitors had a similar product in place. Way to go!

They are one of the biggest consumer product companies on earth yet despite making a big investment in their Tennessee operations, do not even try to occupy key product slots here in the US.

No muscle car. No pickup. No (competitive) minivan. Their big SUV---as noted above---is too little too late. Their small SUV is very nice but it's an antique in a market brimming with new product.

Good luck to them competing in the commercial space.

It would be something they would be good at and would make sense. BUT... is there already market saturation with the little Transit, Mercedes, Renault and its rebadged chevy. ect.

VW just always seems a bit off or late to everything in the US. Even when they are getting it "right"... and then they get caught cheating. Its a company of 1.36 steps forward then 1.33 steps back when they ever finally try to do anything in NA.

That must not be papajim, he actually said something about the article on this page rather than controlling everyone. You see, you don't need screen names to know who is talking. Just actually listen to the quality of their words. Ah, you all are being shown a deeper level of being.

VW's recent expenditure of tens of billions to go electrified shows they are ahead of the game. Ford saw what VW did and then announced they are putting billions into it to electrify their whole line.

Autos are not made the day they are assembled. They are designed many years ahead of time. So many are behind VW.

Moron

Bully

All right, one-word children. You can leave a better comment than that about this article.
If this platform is only constrained to mid-size, I wonder when a full size VW platform for electric will come out after this. Or, maybe it will just be modified for that. It looks like this platform cannot b e used in conjunction with a combustion motor, so they must have not revealed their new platforms for those vehicles.
Mercedes finally gave up having their vans built in Germany and then reassembled in America, and they will build it all now in America. VW could do the same to avoid the tax.

Douch Bag

Get on topic

Seems the bully here forgets about the VW Tourag. That’s old age for you.

Clearly if this Buzz is a hit, it single handedly could created the momentum to get designers rethinking about cab forward, cab over designs!? Wow, wouldn't that be a Huge change: electric and cab over platforms to proliferate in one fail swoop!? But maybe too CUTE for the Braun temperament of Big Truck folks. However, perhaps perfect for the midsize crowd and the midsize crowd who've been asking for even smaller.

FYI, Nice to see the complements running rampant today.

Looks like Big Al is out of rehab again

Mike Williams
VW corporation and especially it's truck and bus division is very interested in taking over another Navistar VW sales only want make-up one percent of VW corporations Global sales
VW commercial division which includes the Amarok is basically diesel-powered despite dieselgate Amarok has a 5 star crash rating but unlike pickups in the US only diesel powered

People will only buy these things when they are forced to with no other options. In the meantime quit pushing eurovans on the US as work vans. Unless you deliver paper mache sculptures and don't mind being seen in an embarrassing vehicle, you can do better.

BD
These vans do not exist they are mockups

I would like to see a return of the American Van. Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Express imagaine what vans could be if they put as much into them as they do pickup trucks. The Express body has not changed since I was in grade school and that was a very long time ago.

@Jim

Have you driven a Nissan NV?

The Nissan vans have updated the classic American-style vans and offer a reliable drivetrain, chassis and brakes.

Not sure what VW is up to but I love the original VW bus.

Jim
European Vans have anywhere from 7000 to close to 9000lb payloads for heavy duty versions No rhey do not sell these in the US

the original VW bus?

What a memory! A cab-over design, beam axle up front.

Torsion bar suspension. Boxer engine, air cooled in all but a few applications.

The limitations of the drivetrain made A/C a rare option. A semi-BOF suspension with many unibody features. With the top of the engine located UNDER the cargo floor every kind of engine tune-up became like brain surgery. Awful exhaust system made necessary by the requirements of air-cooled design. Air-cooled design also required the use of pushrod tubes w/seals that invariably leaked oil.

The carburetor equipped models, especially those with the 4 speed manual trans offered the best chance for happy motorists.

The 3 speed auto trans just did not have enough cogs to help the mercilessly under-powered engine carry a 4 thousand pound machine around. Add the extra weight of a Westfalia camper pop-up and the poor old goose was doing all it could to manage 65 mph on level ground without over heating.

Models having the Bosch fuel injected engines would simply do an automatic shut-off to avoid toasting the engine---meaning that the driver had to patiently wait, sometimes for hours, to restart the engine and motor on.

Nostalgia only. Impractical for today's owner/drivers.

@papajim
Ford model A's had a lot of problems as well but they sold a lot though

@Robert

Burger King sells a lot of Whoppers too, but it will never be filet mignon.

@ papajim
Vw produced rhat Van 60yrs ago

"People will only buy these things when they are forced to with no other options. In the meantime quit pushing eurovans on the US as work vans. Unless you deliver paper mache sculptures and don't mind being seen in an embarrassing vehicle, you can do better." ---- Posted by: BD

Actually, BD, these would attract more people than the other Eurovans because it's a clear visual throwback to the vans of the 60s and specifically the VW microbus of the 60s. I could see them using the exact same platform to re-create the pickup truck they offered back then as well.

However... they do have a major roadblock which could well prevent either one from showing up, even if the family hauler does make it here. It's called the Chicken Tax, which still inhibits certain "commercial" vehicles unless they're assembled here. Would they be willing to build an electric vehicle here in the states? Would they be willing to spend the money to completely change the Tennessee assembly plant over to electric vehicle production and add at least one new line for these?

VW's been forced to spend billions to park years worth of sales on otherwise abandoned properties and install conventional charger stands all over the country... do they really have the money to not only electrify in Europe but also in the States? Will VW be the first non-Tesla brand to go ALL electric? There's so much at stake that you dare not take a microscope to any one product. You've got to look at the overall picture for the brand. What will they do? What CAN they do?

The status of the offerings in the Van market have honestly never been better. Outside of GM the new/current offerings have made leaps (at least by van world standards) in features, comfort, performance, safety, capability, and durability. The "euro" style van is overall the best thing to happen to this market in decades and the Renault's offerings via Nissan (the NV) are excellent modern takes on traditional body on frame vans. Throw in the new smaller offerings and you have the best most well rounded offerings this market has to offer. Can VW contribute to this profitably? Maybe. It will be hard and VW doesn't do well in NA with regards to breaking into an existing market with established competition and taking market share from others. What VW does best is luck into a situation/trend by being the only or first with what that situation/trend calls for (like the gas crisis or a hot hatch). Not that VW cant or doesn't at times build a good car. Its just often not the right car at the right time for the NA market or they make some huge misstep in it.

I could see this van for commercial use and utility use (cable company/phone company). Many of the appliance service, plumber, and electrical contractors have switched to smaller vans where I live. For the most part if it is just a service call many are using smaller vans. If VW could get the fleet business then this van might succeed. Many of the service businesses have put more focus on operating costs especially on service vehicles that do not require a large van or have to carry a lot of parts.

@robert ryan

Nostalgia only. Impractical for today's owner/drivers.

So I'm currently in the market for a new family van. Right now the top of my list is either the Odyssey or the Sienna. But I looked at the Chrysler and honestly, despite the company's reputation, I must admit I was impressed with how refined and configurable the interior is. In fact, if I remember correctly, VW once sold a rebadged Chrysler minivan. I'm still probably going to go with either a Honda or Toyota. But if VW wants to break into the van market, they might need to hit a sweet spot that intersects Chrysler's interior, the Japanese reliability and perhaps the Transit's utility. And of course and either Hybrid or some type of electrified range extender. Just my two cents.

"I could see this van for commercial use and utility use (cable company/phone company). Many of the appliance service, plumber, and electrical contractors have switched to smaller vans where I live. For the most part if it is just a service call many are using smaller vans. If VW could get the fleet business then this van might succeed. Many of the service businesses have put more focus on operating costs especially on service vehicles that do not require a large van or have to carry a lot of parts." ---- Posted by: Jeff S

This thing ain't all that big, Jeff. From what I've seen so far, it's hardly any larger than the old Type 2 from the 60s. It's just not going to be rear engined, so the load floor should be flat front to rear. Remember, they're planning this thing to be battery-electric, so fleet delivery services, locksmiths, pest control... there are any number of small businesses that could use something like this. And at least for now it's distinctive enough to attract attention to whatever business chooses to use them. Although, whether that's a good thing or not is yet to be discovered.

Remember guys; Chrysler did this with the Caravan/T&C about 15 years ago.

@Vulpine

You may be forgetting (ignoring?) the fact that small business owners (electricians, plumbers, pest control) are about as conservative as it is possible to be.

Getting those folks to respond positively to a new headlight fascia is tricky enough, but try to imagine the headwinds involved in moving to an entirely new platform...

It's not a slam-dunk is all I'm saying. You recently bought the same pickup that you said was too big (too wide, too heavy gas hog).

It will happen but it's gonna take time. And it probably will NOT be a company like VW that pulls it off.

The Mercedes Sprinter and Metris are getting their lunches handed to them by the Ford Transit.

I'm sure VW is aware of how tough the van market is in the US when the second place seller, the Chevy Express, is a 20+ year old tank.

@redbloodedxy

Does Ford still sell a real 1970s-style van like the Chevy/GMC half ton vans, like the ones you dismissively call a "tank"?

You'd be surprised to know how popular that tank is for the business owners who need a stout utility truck that can be easily secured and locked to protect gear and tools.

@rebloodexy
Ford Transit van in Australia goes nowhere quite a few others sell a lot more new Sprinter in the United States will be built in the US
@ Papajim I know it's a nostalgia van too talk about it into the context of VW van doesn't make sense it certainly does not have carburettors??

@ Clint Totally agree the Eurovansare in the process of completely taking out of the traditional US Vans

@Clint
Taking over should be

I know it's a nostalgia van too talk about it into the context of VW van doesn't make sense it certainly does not have carburettors??
Posted by: Robert Ryan | Sep 27, 2018

@Robert

I realize there's a good chance that someone is hijacking your ID on this comments page. Normally your replies don't have the feel of illiteracy that this one does.

Let's remember the topic: VW presently has ZERO presence in the US van market. Last time they tried it was a re-badged Chrysler rolled out to the US public at the peak of a recession. Since then only God knows how many million vans have been sold worldwide but VW sure is missing the mark in N. America. GM half ton vans, for all of their warts, still sell steadily and have a steadfast following.

Every night this week, Wheel of Fortune has been giving the nostalgic VW bus free press with the photo in the background. It's clearly an icon for the Ca Surfer beach theme for the show this week.

Gotta love those vans. Generally quite compact for all they can do.

@ Papajim
You do not get it, US market only makes ONE PERCENT of Global VW sales Why even bother to chase market share?
More important is buying Navistar and gett into the NA logistics chaib

This car is strange, anyone explain to me that this car features superiority.?

US market only makes ONE PERCENT of Global VW sales Why even bother to chase market share?...Posted by: Robert Ryan

Ok Mr Smart Guy. If VW's North American share is so insignificant why did they invest BILLIONS of shareholder assets in the construction and rollout of their plant in eastern Tennessee?

"This car is strange, anyone explain to me that this car features superiority.?" ---- Posted by: giaxevespahcm

--- Electric

@papajim
US Market is a tiny market for them. Pales into insignificance compared to other markets gives you an idea of the size of VW corporation it is enormous they want to takeover Navistar and get into the NA logistics supply chain like Volvo(Mack) and Mercedes Benz(Freightliner and Western Star)
As far as EV vans they are mockups

@Robert Ryan: Please answer my question.

If VW's North American share is so insignificant why did they invest BILLIONS of shareholder assets in the construction and rollout of their plant in eastern Tennessee?

i looking for future with car strange ....

@1 Fix

You wanna see "strange?"

There's a sheep station in Australia where they invented it. Totally nuts. So bad they had to fly in a whole psychiatric unit by helicopter.

Way down past the end of the driveway as we say here in cattle country. Just ask for Big Al.



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