The Volkswagen ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo are being targeted for a mid-2024 launch, with a right-hand drive example of each imported to Australia and shown to media in Sydney.
“We’re targeting to launch ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo in mid-2024. And our aim is to get start of production from the end of next year, [but] we’re still not officially confirmed as a market,” said Ryan Davies, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Australia.
“But what I can tell you is the reason we’ve got two cars here is that our headquarters determined that they wanted to send out some vehicles to what they call the most important international markets, and we’re one of them.
“And I can tell you, there’s only one or two others that have been able to achieve what we’ve done here. And the reason that they’ve sent those cars to us, is because we have really what they determined is the biggest opportunity for these vehicles in our market.”
Mr Davies says there’s “no reason” why the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo wouldn’t be approved for Australia.
“The business case is fundamentally approved. It’s really the technical elements going through the process of being signed off. Now we’re anticipating that will come to us, hopefully before Christmas.
“So this is a bit of a staged approach. So once we get that technical approval, which hopefully will come before Christmas, then the next challenge will be availability and production.
“They’ve got 20,000 plus initial orders, and we’ve just got to get on that in the range of getting production availability.”
It’s planning to take the two imported examples on a roadshow around Australia, which will include showing the vehicles to governments and fleet management organisations.
The electric van and people mover are planned to be followed by new generations of the combustion-powered Multivan, Transporter and Caravelle – though Volkswagen Australia is also pushing for the plug-in hybrid version of the Multivan.
“What we probably will see is when we do get confirmed as a market for ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo, the first year or so you’ll see volumes that probably don’t represent what the true opportunity is for those vehicles,” said Nathan Johnson, national manager of marketing and product for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
“And that’s just purely a consequence of the global demand for these cars being so, so significant.
“So we do have high volume aspirations for these cars, but I’m not sure that we’re going to be able to realise that in the short term given the global position.”
Volkswagen is ramping up production of the ID. Buzz in Hannover, targeting annual production of 130,000 units in 2023.
The range will soon expand to include dual-motor all-wheel drive GTX models, plus an extended-length three-row body style.
Volkswagen Australia wants both, noting around 30 per cent of T6.1 sales – which includes the current Multivan – are of all-wheel drive models and that a three-row variant is a “no brainer”.
It also wants the production version of the ID. Buzz Flex-Cab concept, which features a three-person rear bench seat that can be positioned in two different ways. The bench is adjusted electrically via a switch on the B- or D-pillars.
The company’s Australian operation would also like to be able to hand over ID. Buzz vehicles on a CO2 neutral basis as it does in Europe, though it notes it hasn’t investigated this yet.
As Volkswagen Australia is still awaiting final approval for the Buzzes, it couldn’t confirm local specifications.
Currently, all ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo models are rear-wheel drive and use a 77kWh (net) lithium-ion battery and a single, rear-mounted electric motor with 150kW of power and 310Nm of torque.
Range is up to 425km on the WLTP cycle and it can’t be charged at up to 11kW using AC power or 170kW on a DC fast charger.
Volkswagen also quotes a payload of up to 650kg for the ID. Buzz Cargo.
The van can seat two or three occupants, while the ID. Buzz people mover has a second row of seating but no third despite the presence of cupholders and padded areas in the load area.
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