Next VW Caravelle looks set to ditch commercial van underpinnings
Wolfsburg - Volkswagen’s van story is a long and colourful one, stretching way back to the Type 2 (T1-generation) of the 1950s.
But all through the six generations that led up to today’s T6 model, the commercial van and family-hauling versions of VW’s bus have all been closely related, albeit with more seats and creature comforts added to the latter models.
But that all looks set to change from the next generation, as Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles board chairman Thomas Sedran revealed this week.
As previously announced, Volkswagen and Ford are teaming up on various projects, with the Blue Oval set to build not only the next-generation Amarok bakkie, but VW’s one-tonne commercial vans too. The passenger versions, however, will continue to be produced by Volkswagen.
“The ‘1Ton’ project will provide an extra boost for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in the business customer sector, as it enables us to offer a strong product with a very good cost-benefit ratio,” Sedran said.
“At the same time we are keeping the development, production and marketing of the successors to our current 6.1 model range for private use, i.e. the Multivan, Caravelle and California, at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. You could say that we're bringing together the best of both worlds for our customers.”
While this means that the Transporter panel van models will have Ford underpinnings, the future vans aimed at private buyers, such as the Caravelle, will still be blue-blooded Volkswagens. They’re likely to become more ‘car-like’ as a result, since the design no longer needs to cater for commercial variants.
Although Volkswagen has not released any details on what underpinnings the next Caravelle and California will use, it’s unlikely that they will soldier on with the current van-based architecture. Instead, it seems inevitable that they will follow the latest Caddy in migrating to Volkswagen’s MQB platform.
MQB is a modern and flexible architecture that allows for vehicles of various shapes and sizes, which is why it can underpin everything from a Polo to a Tiguan and Passat.
However, the next-generation Caravelle and California won’t be the only family-hauling vans offered by Volkswagen.
The company is also working on an all-electric bus, based on the MEB battery car platform and boasting retro design cues inspired by the aforementioned Type 2 of the ‘50s.
Cute as a button, the vehicle is likely to rekindle many people’s love affair with the Volkswagen brand.