Volkswagen Bulli Needs to Be Built


Volkswagen opened the doors and let journalists crawl all over its Bulli concept car that debuted overseas a few months ago. The small van has stirred a ton of reaction online in the U.S., and I’m here to say it’s well-deserved.

More 2011 New York Auto Show Coverage

I’ve rarely advocated a concept car must be put into production. That is to say, concepts that aren’t already destined for reality like a Chevy Camaro. The last one I felt strongly about was the Toyota A-Bat concept, a compact pickup truck with a hybrid powertrain and awesome looks.

The Bulli is similar. It is an attainable, practical vehicle with wild looks, amazing iPad integration, a glass roof and seats that can fold flat into a bedlike surface. Heck, we hear from people demanding cars with a front-row three-person bench seat all the time. This is the first concept I’ve seen with one in a long time.

The thing of it is, all these elements could make it into a real car pretty easily. I just hope VW listens to all the buzz and greenlights the Bulli fast. And, of course, sells it in the U.S.

Click on any image below for a larger version and a gallery.

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

VW Bulli

Photos by Ian Merritt,



I have seen this before, at the circus. Clowns extra.


I don't own a car, but I'd be tempted to buy this one just so I can drive around and explore the country. It's sounds like it would be like having a built-in tent. No hotels required!


I want one- in the diesel hybrid.
Cranberry & white or the classic blue & white--doesn't matter.


HATE the name. So will the hippies. I'd love to see it look even more like a BUS. Spit windsheild, pill windows along the sides, and get rid of the rectangle headlight and keep the round ones. I WANT MY MAGIC BUS!


I understand many of these cars are designed for the city. However, I live 1 hour outside of Dallas, Texas and want a concept car to be aerodynamic for highway speeds and economy. Boxy is roomy but drives like a kite on the highway.


This looks even smaller than a Honda Element! NOT a replacement for the VW microbus.


Where does the big key go to wind it up? Seriously, this is a decent copy of the Scion XB.

Allen Booth

Change the name. It may not have a negative connotation in German, but it does in American English. Hence, the Volkswagen "Bulli" won't sell that well in the U.S. Anyone remember how the Chevy "Nova" wouldn't sell in Spanish-speaking countries? (In Spanish, "no va" means "no go". Would you really want a car with that name?)


iPad integration is a terrible idea. 12 months in and a major part of your car is obsolete.
Proprietary systems are better for this. While they also go obsolete, it isn't as obvious and there isn't a clear replacement to clamor for.


It's called the BULLI, because that is what there are called here in Germany.


I second that Tom a diesel version would be perfect. I want one ....dear vw please start production now.

David Reaves

I don't like the idea of incorporating what amounts to a TV set in the clear view of the driver. Today's drivers need LESS visual distraction, not MORE!!


This Is One Of The Most Cramped Ugliest Vans I Have Ever Seen It Looks Like AMC Pacer Started Making Mini-Vans It's Not A Babe Magnet That's For Sure At One Time VW Made Some Good Vans And A Laptop Computer Right There By The Driver Not A Good Idea


The HHR is still roomier!


I love the idea...It does need more cargo space while maintaining the rear seats for seating....Think of hauling a couple of hockey players and their equipment about.


This is NOT a Microbus - it's just another fugly design that looks like every other stupid square box from other manufacturers. There have been a few other designs submitted to VW by people outside the company, but they ignore those and bring this hideous thing to light and have the gall to call it the new Microbus?

Tom Smith

We had a 1957 VW Bus when I was going up and it had a front bench seat like this. I could sit between mom & dad and see everything first hand. Build this and I will get one to show the grand kids the view from the middle seat. Sitting in an approved child seat of course, you know.


VW should build it. Asian companies need some competition for funkie machines like: Soul, Cube, Juke.

Neat looking little van, if they build it they ought to offer a Westy (Campmobile) version.

David Reaves, I expect that "tv" is showing the backup camera, on the road it would be a nav screen.

rick lapuszynski



It looks like a macbook with wheels.

I would sooo buy a new production camper van, but it has to look like the old school ones.


Where are the critical comments? The seats look absolutely horrible. I see no lumbar support, or any side support. I looks like you would slide off your seat in every curve. Impossible car for my poor back!


Love it but Hyundai and Kia will copy it and bring it to the market faster.


I don't think the camper is coming back anytime soon. VW has moved up in brand image and that kind of persona doesn't fit well with the more upscale image VW portrays currently. This looks like a Scion xB almost exactly!

Tanya Walker

As far as design goes, I'd buy one today if they were available. I agree that the seats don't look very comfortable but I'm guessing that those seats wouldn't be the ones in the actual production vehicle. I love the white dashboard and accents. I have a Cube now, and square is SO hot!


It's sharp and round in all the right places. It's reminiscent of the VW bus, without being outdated. i think the Bulli, including the name is a great vehicle!

Celeste Widman

I want one!!!
I agree with Tom and Jenn. I want one in Diesel Hybrid and in this snazzy Cranberry and White or Classic Blue and White. And, it is reminiscent of the Classic VW Bus. But, I like that! Dad got a new VW Bus every 2 years when I was growing up. We liked them and they were perfect for a Jazz Musician to haul the Band's stuff around (there were no Vans available then). I would buy a Bulli in a heartbeat!


People are looking with their emotions not their eyes. We had two original Beetles, three VW campers vans and we have a New Beetle. But this does look like a clown car and many of the cubic boxes driving around. The look of the old micro bus just doesn't make it. VW has suffered from lack of focus for years. We would have a new camper if they had not stopped importing them. Other microbus/camper concepts have been closer to the spirit. Too bad.


Good for nothing. Not sleek enough to get exceptional mileage. Not spacious enough to meet the original bus uses. Not appointed well enough to be a competitive minivan.


I want this!


Sorry - having a computer screen aimed right at the driver disqualifies it. I don't care how cool the designers think it looks; if you design a vehicle that encourages the driver to pay even less attention to driving than the average idiot does now, you should consider changing careers.


Styling by Wonder Bread. It looks like it can haul four or five people, but nothing more. "'Scuse me, I have to take my watch off, then we can all fit."

bob reising

ir doesn't matter if you like it or want it. We will be buying them by the droves soon and VW will make a fortune. Meanwhile, American workers will suffer and will eat marshmallow fluff for dinner. Get used to it.

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