There are a lot of rumors swirling about the Volkswagen Bus and we’ve heard all of them. We’ve reported on a few, but recently we came across an interview with Volkswagen Spokesperson, Christian Buhlmann, that seemed to dispel the rumors.
“… What we currently offer in Europe is $50,000 and up, and I personally just don’t see enough customers for bringing such a vehicle where people would say, ‘O.k., $50,000. How much RV can I possibly get for that kind of money, in terms of length and equipment?’ And that just wouldn’t be and adequate offer for this [the U.S.] market.”
So there you have it. Volkswagen executives have done the market research and determined that American markets just won’t go for the $50,000 VW Bus.
But we think they may be seeing the trees, rather than the forest. Their market research is based off the consumer trend away from vans, and toward SUVs. But this trend is changing again, away from bulky SUV’s to more compact, efficient, and versatile crossovers. Perhaps RV owners are looking for the same? The current trend in “tiny houses” and “teardrop” campers may be evidence that people are looking to downsize their dwellings.
Imagine a fully electric plug-in Volkswagen camper van, equipped with solar panels, electric kitchenette, and a retractable awning. An electric van would reach out to environmentally conscious customers, who don’t want to take up a ton of space, and would entice those looking for a sustainable vehicle they can take long distances. When you’re dealing with a crowd that likes to spend time in the wilderness, it’s safe to say they’re concerned with protecting it.
That’s just our two cents. Maybe Volkswagen has already considered this and run the market research explaining why an electric VW bus just won’t work. But, we have to wonder whether the first VW bus fit perfectly into an existing market. Sometime you won’t know until you try, and we would love to see a rebirth of the American road trip.