Not Just a Vehicle – The VW Kombi ceases production.
For some of us our Volkswagen campervan is an extended member of the family. For generations the vehicle has seen families of hippies, surfers, working families and explorers travel across many paths.
So, it is with a touch of sadness that the Volkswagen Kombi has reached an end to its production and its epic journey. The legendary campervan has succumbed to environmental legislation meaning production will cease in Brazil and will not be continued anywhere else in the world.
After introducing the beloved model in 1950, production terminated on December 20 2013, 63 years after kicking off.
New safety regulations coming into force next year mandate that every vehicle in the country must have air bags and anti-lock braking and this has subsequently halted further use of the vehicle.
The news of Kombis end will sadden a vast amount of people world-wide with some mourners holding an exhibition in Sao Bernado do Campo, Brazil.
Since 1950 10 million campervans have been produced with more than 1.5 million being made in Brazil.
Volkswagen named the vans ‘Type 2’ because they were the second make of vehicle offered from Volkswagen with the predecessor being the Beetle.
The van has been appreciated by many over the years and became quite the icon for ‘youth culture’ in Britain after the advertising slogan of ‘not just a vehicle…more a way of life.’ Celebrity fans of the iconic vehicle include actor Martin Clunes, who owns two campers – a rare black one with a bay windscreen, and a navy and white split-screen model dating from 1977. Formula 1 racing driver Jenson Button has also owned two – a red and white model from 1956 and a gold-coloured 1970 Volkswagen Kombi.
In poorer regions like Latin American and Africa, the vehicle has continued to be made long after production ended in the UK in 1967. In Brazil its uses are perhaps not as romantic– it is used by the postal service to haul mail, by the army to transport soldiers, and by funeral directors to carry corpses. Brazilians also convert their vans into rolling food carts, setting up on street corners for working-class lunchtime crowds.