After 56 years it's over

1969 Volkswagen T2
1969 Volkswagen T2 Wallpaper

The story of a global automobile legend comes to an end in Brazil. After 63 years, the production of the VW Bulli is stopped. The “ Last Edition ” is currently rolling off the assembly line as a limited edition

The Bulli has dressed up for its last appearance . With whitewall tires, elegant window curtains and in light blue and white - this is how the world's last, indeed the very last, models of the transporter legend roll off the assembly line at the VW plant in Anchieta in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. In December it will all be over - around 63 years after the first "T1" transporter was built in Wolfsburg and after 56 years of non-stop production in Brazil. A sad day for Bulli fans all over the world.

In Brazil, the Bulli is simply called a station wagon and, like its little, no less legendary brother, the “Fusca” (Beetle), has been an indispensable part of the streetscape of Samba country for decades and is still today. As a pick-up for removals, as a closed transport vehicle that even transports cows, and as a passenger bus that can accommodate 25 people and more in uncomplicated Brazil , it is on the road on city streets and jungle slopes.


"It is an industrial icon, not only because of the sales success, but also because of its charisma," says VW Marketing Manager Marcelo Olival, who is likely to announce increasing sales figures for the "Kombi-Bulli", mostly every year. "There is no more economical and efficient way to transport a ton of freight." On the streets of Brazil, the station wagon is often credited with significantly more than the maximum permissible payload.

A circulation of 600 units was originally planned for the “Last Edition”, but due to the high demand, VW doubled the quota to 1200 vehicles. Recommended price: 85,000 reais (around 28,000 euros). Even the last Bulli does not deny its ancestors: the design is as round as ever, the headlights as well and next to the tailgate, driver and passenger door there is the familiar sliding door on the right. Inside: the familiar commitment to minimalism. The armature is dominated by a large round speedometer, with the fuel gauge to the right. The “last Bulli” can also be modern: It has a radio with MP3 option and USB connection.

The station wagon was the first model that VW built in Brazil. Since 1957, over 1.56 million T1 and T2 station wagons have rolled off the assembly line at the VW plant in Anchieta in São Bernardo do Campo, not far from São Paulo . The demand increased rapidly. While in the first year there were just 370 models, “Volks”, as VW is often called briefly in Brazil, has already sold over 41,000 models for the period 1957 to 1961. The station wagon was available as a pick-up with a loading area, with a double cab and a classic closed version.

The station wagon, whose production in Germany (T2 / Hanover) was stopped in 1979, serves and served many men in Brazil. Whether as an ambulance, police car, fire engine, mobile library, community vehicle, hearse, mobile snack bar and TV reportage vehicle - the all-purpose vehicle can be seen on almost every street corner to this day. The "end" is due to technical reasons, because from 2014 technical safety requirements will apply in Brazil, the hurdles of which are simply too high for the Bulli. Because from 2014, airbags and ABS braking systems will be mandatory for new vehicles in Brazil.

Because of the rather spartan level of safety, the Bulli was often given the addition “Jesus me chama” (“Jesus calls me”) by the Brazilian people, who were never at a loss for nicknames. Nonetheless, the van also achieved cult status in Brazil. Incidentally, VW do Brasil exported the number “0001/1200” of the limited edition to the VW Autostadt in Wolfsburg. Over 6.2 million T1 and T2 models have been sold worldwide since 1950. Even if production of the Bulli ends in December, it will still be on the streets of Brazil for a long time.

At home in Germany, VW is now building the T5 in Hanover-Stöcken. He belongs to the commercial vehicle division of the group, for which things are not going badly. At just under 5 percent return on sales in the first nine months of 2013, it was clearly ahead of the central VW car division, which did not achieve a 3 percent margin. The fan shop at VW is still a reminder of the flower power era. There the Bulli is available as a money box - with a slot in the roof instead of a side door.

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