Not even good vibrations can keep VW's groovy EV on schedule -- but don't blame the coronavirus.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
That news comes courtesy of Automotive News Europe, whose publisher, Jason Stein, interviewed VW of America CEO Scott Keogh at a virtual CES panel this week. According to the new report, the ID Buzz's yearlong holdup is being blamed on production prioritization issues at VW's Hanover, Germany, commercial-vehicle plant. That same factory is also earmarked to produce a smaller battery-powered commercial cargo van alongside the Buzz for the European market, and the German automaker apparently plans to prioritize initial deliveries of these vans for customers on its home continent instead of shoppers in US and Canada.
With its friendly, nostalgic looks that recall VW's beloved Microbuses and Transporters, which remain a part of '60s and '70s pop-culture iconography to this day, the ID Buzz promises to be a unique product that should draw a lot of traffic into the company's showrooms. Part of VW's big-budget bet on EVs following the company's Dieselgate emissions scandal, the ID Buzz is being proceeded in European showrooms by a more conventional ID 3 electric hatchback, as well as the ID 4 crossover, a compact SUV that will be VW's first ground-up electric vehicle offered in North America. The latter two models are already in production at a different German factory, in Zwickhau, but all three ID models are based on the company's MEB scalable EV platform.
Looking at the Volkswagen ID Buzz concept never gets old
Volkswagen has regularly dangled nostalgia-soaked van revival concepts in front of anxious consumers for decades. It started back in 2001 with the company's Microbus concept, followed by the 2011 Bulli show car and the 2016 Budd-E. VW even recently partnered with a European aftermarket company, eClassics, to produce a series of reengineered classic VW Buses that run on electric power.
Suffice it to say, there's a lot of interest in the ID Buzz, and delaying this iconoclastic vehicle for another year is likely to sting VW of America's dealer network, which was hit with a 10% downturn in business in 2020 thanks in part to the coronavirus.
VW did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment on this story.
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