June 12, 2002
Hanover, Germany – Volkswagen AG announced that the VW Microbus concept, which debuted at the Detroit auto show in January, 2001, will be built at its commercial vehicle plant in Hanover, Germany – the same city where the original microbus was produced in 1950. The new Microbus is expected to go on sale in 2005.
Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Board of Management Volkswagen AG, said: “Having reviewed the economic requirements for building the Microbus in the Group, we have come to the conclusion that, based on the 5000 x 5000 project and a thorough restructuring of the Hanover site, the conditions are good.” Under this concept, Volkswagen AG will employ a total of 5,000 persons for a gross wage of DM 5,000 (CAN $3,706). 1500 new jobs will be created in Hanover – the other 3500 positions were already announced for the Wolfsburg plant last year.
The Hanover plant was competing with a plant in Palmela, Portugal for Microbus production. “The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles team put up a marvellous fight to win this vehicle,” said Gnter Lenz, Chairman of the Works Council Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “All our efforts have been rewarded. The decision shows that the Hanover site can hold its own in an international comparison of VW locations.” German autoworkers union, IG Metall, also praised VW for keeping jobs in Germany.
“With the Microbus, a legend begun some 50 years ago when the first VW bus left the production line here is now returning to Hanover,” said Dr. Pischetsrieder. “The VW bus was never just a means of transport, it has always been an emotive cult object. The public’s reaction at motor shows combined with the findings of market studies already show us that the Microbus design has a spontaneous appeal, and that the vehicle will follow in the footsteps of its successful predecessor.”
The Microbus concept was designed in Volkswagen’s Simi Valley, California design studio. Concepts include a minivan, a pickup, and a camper version. The concept has a 231 horsepower 3.2 litre V6 mounted transversely in the front and front-wheel-drive. It features 20 inch alloy wheels and 245/45R 20 tires.