Breaking News, World News and Taiwan News .^ȲĤ@^ɨơB^sD
GUIDE POST        Photo Gallery        Topics        Comics        About Guide Post        
Market
Monday, October 14, 2013
 翻譯
End of the VW van
Long trip comes to an end for Volkswagen's iconic hippie van

It carried hippies through the 1960s, hauled surfers in search of killer waves during endless summers and serves as a workhorse across the developing world, but the long journey of the Volkswagen van is ending. Brazil is the last place in the world still producing the iconic vehicle, or "bus" as it's known by aficionados, but VW says production will end on Dec. 31. Safety regulations mandate that every vehicle in Brazil must have air bags and anti-lock braking systems starting in 2014, and the company says it cannot change production to meet the law.

Although output will halt in Brazil, there should be plenty of VW vans rolling along for decades if only because there are so many. VW has produced more than 10 million Volkswagen Transporter vans globally since the model was introduced 63 years ago in Germany. More than 1.5 million have been produced in Brazil since 1957.

Perhaps nothing with a motor has driven itself deeper into American and European pop culture than the VW, known for its durability but also its tendency to break down. Van lovers say its failures only reinforce its charm: Because its engine is so simple, it's easy to fix, imparting a deeper sense of ownership.

The van made an appearance on Bob Dylan and Beach Boys record album covers. Steve Jobs is said to have sold his van in the 1970s to buy a circuit board as he built a computer that helped launch Apple. The vehicle is linked to the California surf scene, its cavernous interior perfect for hauling boards.

The VW is used in Brazil by the postal service to haul mail, by the army to transport soldiers and by morticians to carry corpses. It serves as a school bus for kids, operates as a group taxi, and delivers construction materials to work sites. In Brazil, it's known as the "Kombi," an abbreviation for the German "Kombinationsfahrzeug," which loosely translates as "cargo-passenger van."

Sao Paulo advertising executive Marcello Serpa said the van's spirit will live on after its demise. He has a 2007 version meant to have a 1960s American hippie feel. He painted it in bright green, yellow, blue and red colors with cartoon-like drawings of his wife, daughters and himself, surfboard in hand. Serpa said the bus evokes "a spirit of playfulness and happiness," causing people to pause and smile when he drives it down Sao Paulo's chaotic streets. "The Kombi is part of Brazil's cultural and emotional landscape," he said, "and that explains the strong feelings of affection most people have for it."

Sitemap | Top Stories | Taiwan | China | Business | Asia | World | Sports | Life | Arts & Leisure | Health | Editorial | Commentary | Travel | Movies | TV Listings
Classifieds | Bookstore | Getting Around | Weather | Guide Post | Student Post | English Courses | Subscribe | Advertise | About Us | Career | Contact Us
Copyright © 1999 – 2014 The China Post. Breaking news from Taiwan, China and the world.
The China Post  Terms of use