VW To Bring Back '60s Throwback Microbus to Jump-Start Stagnating Sales
Volkswagen is once again bringing back a darling of its past. After months of speculation, the German automaker June 11 confirmed that it had approved production of a new Microbus -- a 21st-century version of the flat-nosed rectangular microvan best rememberedin the U.S. as a rainbow-hued, flower-patterned counterculture icon, according to a Wall Street Journal story by Sholnn Freeman and Beth DeMain Reigber.Ex-hippies beware: The new Microbus will start selling at no less than $28,500. But it will seat a minimum of seven people -- withoutguitars.VW said it hopes to sell about 80,000 of them a year, about two-thirds in the U.S. The company plans to put the Microbus into a category of its own -- perhaps in an effort to distance it from traditional minivans, which have been falling out of favor. But, however it is positioned, the Microbus will be going head to head with popular SUVs like the new Honda Pilot or the longer version of Chevrolet Trailblazer.The Microbus won't debut until 2005, and it's still too early to know how the car will look and feel when it hits dealers' lots. But it's likely that VW, known for its quirky design,will make some nods to the 1960s version, according to the Journal.