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The Bulletin

Volkswagen retires camper van, longest-produced model in history

Posting in Design

It's time to start saying your goodbyes to Volkswagen's iconic camper van.

Production of the VW Transporter Type 2 will end next year. The VW minibus, as it's also called, has been in production since 1957 and is the longest-produced vehicle model in automotive history.

But it's not ending because of a lack of popularity (VW Brazil has built 13,000 this year -- demand for Tesla Model S, for example, is around 20,000 per year). New safety laws that go into effect in Brazil starting in 2014 aren't compatible with the camper van.

And as Quartz reports, outdoor enthusiast won't be the only ones disappointed to see the vehicle go. It also has its place in the Brazilian economy.

But it may ruffle the feathers of Brazilians even more, many of whom have long relied on the bus’s reasonable price and simple design for all kinds of needs beyond just getting around: as mobile kiosks, ambulances and even hearses, as Germany’s Der Spiegel reports. In Brazil, the minibus, which is called the “A Kombi,” costs a mere 47,000 real ($20,450). (By comparison, a Mercedes Sprinter—a similar cargo van—costs more than $36,000.)

Over the years, more than 3.5 million camper vans have been produced worldwide.

Photo: Flickr/kenjonbro

— By on September 10, 2013, 6:49 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure