Iconic Volkswagen Microbus in Jeopardy of Dying in Brazil
The Volkswagen Microbus is an American legend that most of us associate with the flower power movement of the 1960s, but despite its designation as a classic vehicle here in the states, the VW Microbus is a vital element to hundreds of Brazilian businesses.
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Marketed as the Volkswagen Kombi, the Microbus has been in steady production in Brazil for nearly 50 years, but that run is in serious jeopardy due to new safety regulations. Brazil has impending legislation that would outlaw the production and importation of vehicles without certain modern safety technology, including anti-lock brakes and airbags.
The VW Microbus, which has remained widely unchanged for 50 years, isn’t going down without a fight. Brazil’s finance manager, Guido Mantega, is contesting that because the Microbus has such a long, storied production history, it would be simply unfair to hold it to the same standards as today’s vehicles.
The current Microbus/Kombi lacks airbags and anti-lock brakes, and although the addition of the updated brakes wouldn’t be a huge undertaking, implementing airbags would likely require a complete redesign of the front-end, which would probably cause VW to import a more modern, expensive transporter to Brazil.
Do you hope Brazil allows continued production of the Volkswagen Microbus, or is it time for the passing of an icon?