News and updates from Volkswagen's Light Commercial Vehicles division have become frequent, including this month’s presentation of a new small Caddy van as well as the sixth-generation Transporter van and pickup, called the T6.
There were no revolutionary innovations, but rather evolution of two proven and popular models. For both Caddy and Transporter, the front and rear have been modernized with new grilles, headlights, side lamps and turn signals, bumpers and tail lights. Interior design, instrumentation and safety equipment have been updated. The infotainment screen, among other things, can reflect the driver’s smart phone apps.
Press events took place for around 500 international journalists, divided into a new group every day but Sundays, for two weeks. Caddy driving experiences took place in Marseille, France, and for the Transporter, the events were held in Stockholm, Sweden.
Standard equipment includes electronic stability control and emergency braking systems, including one that prevents the vehicle from moving after a crash.
Volkswagen’s Caddy was originally called the Rabbit Pickup when introduced in North America in 1980 and in Europe two years later. To date, 1.5 million units have been manufactured.
The beloved VW Bus, or “Bulli” in Europe, became an icon for the Flower Power generation in the 1970’s and has been around for 65 years. About 12 million units have been manufactured since its debut in 1950.
The new T6 series has body lines, dimensions and weights broadly in line with the previous T5 and earlier models. Weight classes continue to be 2.6 or 3.2 tons, and permitted towing weights are 2.2 or 2.5 tons.
The biggest changes are under the hood. Euro 6 diesels with SCR provide 15% lower fuel consumption, VW saidf Transporter offers several powertrains with either gasoline or diesel. The transmissions are 5- or 6-speed manuals or the 7-speed DSG automatic. Most model variants are available with 4Motion all-wheel drive.
The T6 lunch stop took place in Sodertalje, Sweden, home of Scania Truck. On the way there, no one could miss the sight of Scania's mighty factory complex with R&D buildings, test laboratories and parking areas for new trucks. Scania, like MAN, is now owned by Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge.
The relationship goes way back in time. It was the then-independent Scania that began importing and distributing VW Beetles and light commercial vehicles in Sweden shortly after World War II.
VW has not sold its vans or Transporters in the U.S. for some years. But executives have said that, in response to requests, they are considering returning to the States. Whether that becomes a reality is another question.