The automaker now has a big decision to make.
It may have taken several years since the concept was unveiled, but the wait for the Volkswagen ID.Buzz was well worth it. Revealed earlier this month, the 2024 ID.Buzz is an all-electric retro return to the iconic microbus the German automaker built for decades for multiple global markets. It found fame in the US as the vehicle of choice for a generation of hippies and music lovers back in the 1960s and 70s.
The new ID.Buzz, which shares the MEB platform with the ID.4 crossover, has a very appropriate name because (pun intended) it continues to generate a lot of buzz in the US. VW is quickly realizing demand could be higher than expected and that could put a lot of strain on the Hanover, Germany factory charged with building it. American production was previously ruled out but now, via Automotive News, VW of American CEO Scott Keogh is reconsidering that option.
"Demand is through the roof - it's super high - so I think we're going to have to give a fair amount of strategic thoughts on this front," he said. "Obviously, there's going to be a big boost at launch; I think that's no surprise. In my mind, I think it's sustainable when you see the amount of demand." Keogh personally experienced this enthusiasm alongside his boss, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess.
The pair were driving a Euro-spec ID.Buzz a few weeks ago in Austin, Texas and people came flocking. General interest and enthusiasm is clearly very high but it remains unknown for now whether this will result in actual sales. "Cars like this do the most important thing. Business is good, making money is good, but get the brand liked and loved again, that's where we want to get to, and that's what this is doing," Keogh added.
VW, of course, suffered a huge image and financial setback following the revelations of deliberately faking emissions figures for diesel-powered models, a scandal that quickly became known as Dieselgate, back in 2015. The automaker's then-leadership was quickly replaced and its diesel engine lineup is now nearly phased out.
VW's commitment to battery electrics is vital to its long-term goals, as Keogh hinted. So the idea of making additional space at the Chattanooga, Tennessee factory for the ID.Buzz no longer seems so far-fetched. No doubt VW will be paying very close attention to North American ID.Buzz sales activity.