Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles celebrates 20 Years of the California & debuts Caddy Topos Sail Study @ the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf
Posted by phaeton at 1:43 PM
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are celebrating 20 years of the VW campervan nameplate the California at the 2008 Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf.
The California name is new to Volkswagen as prior to 2003 the California was built by famed Motorhome maker Westfalia for Volkswagen, that deal ended when Westfalia was bought by DamilerChrysler (Damiler).
The T5 based California is now fully built and designed by VW Commercial Vehicle's Special Business Unit in Hannover making Volkswagen one of only two manufacturers that build motorhomes within their global range.
Also making its debut is the Caddy Topos Sail Study taking the yacht theme to a new level, with its innovative bumper that turns into a step drawer with a ladder built in to the rear hatch which gives you access to the roof which is truly German engineering at its best with a deck that flaps into seating positions and also hide storage areas.
Stay tuned for more pics and info as the show starts tomorrow.
Gallery after jump.-Success story of a touring vehicle: more than 80,000 California have been sold
-Caddy Topos Sail design study and mosaic module for the California Beach as further highlights
Hanover / Düsseldorf, 22nd August 2008: The most successful and popular touring vehicle in its class – the California made by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – is celebrating an important birthday at this year's Caravan trade fair (30.8. to 7.9. in Düsseldorf). New ideas for the leisure time vehicle will also be presented within the scope of the anniversary "20 Years California": the design study Caddy Topos Sail shows similarities towards yachting design; two vehicle interior concepts extend the scope of application for the California Beach.
The success story of the Volkswagen California began in 1988: that was the kick-off for the first Volkswagen touring vehicle built on the basis of the Transporter with a rear engine. Three generations – from the California on the basis of the T3 through to the current T5 – have been extremely popular with customers. More than 80,000 vehicles have already been sold. This makes the California the most successful touring vehicle in its class.
Further highlights at the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles trade fair stand in Hall 16 at the Düsseldorf trade fair are the Caddy Topos Sail study as well as two vehicle interior concepts which demonstrate the flexibility of the California Beach.
The concept study Caddy Topos Sail shows a link to yachting, in particular through the multi-functional roof with wooden planking. The appearance of the new "Woody" is avant-garde and modern. Clothed in a wooden outfit, the design of the Topos is reminiscent of exclusive sports boat construction in the 1950's. Brushed or polished aluminium as well as a pool ladder with four steps in the tailgate further emphasise this character.
It all started with a mosaic programme for individual construction. The VW bus driver of more than 50 years ago was already able to set the vehicle up according to their requirements. This is now also possible with the California Beach. Two or three seat benches can be anchored as required using the rails on the floor. This option for a four or five-seater vehicle then further influences the layout of the modular camper with water boiler, sink and cooker.
20 years of the Volkswagen California – 20 years of mobile leisure
-Successful model celebrates its birthday
-Around 80,000 vehicles built
-Optimal vehicle for long journeys
The Volkswagen California touring vehicle is twenty years old. Since its market launch in the summer of 1988, around 80,000 vehicles have been produced to date. Around 5000 California vehicles currently roll off the assembly lines each year.
When the Caravan Salon opened its doors in Essen in 1988, an in-house touring vehicle was exhibited on the Volkswagen stand for the first time. Its name: California. In the press context: "VW brings movement to leisure." For 39,900.00, Deutschmarks, this took the following form: A folding bench seat for two people in the rear, which can be laid flat to make a bed if required, and a narrow kitchen range with a refrigerator, gas hob and sink plus stowage space on the left-hand side. All of this bridged by a pop-up roof offering two additional berths.
"Volkswagen is making leisure beautiful", could be read next to the VW insignia in the sales brochure. Around 22,000 purchasers were to heed this call during the California T3's three-and-a-half year production period.
"The Volkswagen California has remained unbeaten in its segment for twenty years. Its success constantly leads us to reflect on further variants for the future", says Stephan Schaller, spokesman for the Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge brand's board of management.
In 1990, Volkswagen revealed the new California based on the new T4 Transporter. The successor was familiar and nevertheless completely different. Because the new Transporter generation no longer had a great deal in common with the old generations. From then on, the engine and drive train were located at the front: "The first double bed with front-wheel drive". Production began in 1991.
Shortly afterwards, the California Coach came onto the scene. The rear left panel and the omission of double glazing and other minor features enabled a price of around 48,000.00 DM from the very start of series production in 1993. The California was also available as a long wheelbase "Tour" and "Club" version. The highlight was the California Exclusive in 1994. This offered the autonomous "absolutely carefree package" for 59,890.00 DM.
The new face and various technical innovations offered by the passenger car variants of the T4 also came into play for the California as of 1996. And: From then on, the California formed part of the product range of the newly established Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge brand. Significant highlights were introduced in 1998. The Syncro was available with the 102 hp TDI, for example. The top TDI engine offered a whopping 150 hp.
The California fleet was ready: From then on, an attractively priced special model was on offer at each Caravan Salon; this was distinguished from the series production version by bundling various features which otherwise incurred a surcharge. The second generation was discontinued in 2003. Around 39,000 T4-based California vehicles were built, with some 14 percent of these being exported.
"The California is less dependent on the economy than on the zeitgeist. A California is often purchased in the same way as a sports car, because it is the fulfilment of a dream for many customers. Today, we can look back at sales of around 80,000 vehicles", says sales and marketing director Harald Schomburg.
The third California generation, based on the new Transporter, stood in the spotlight at the 2003 Caravan Salon. The new California once again made use of its predecessor's tried-and-tested outline. The furniture consisted of aluminium plates with a corrugated core. The pop-up roof was also manufactured from aluminium and opened electrohydraulically at the push of a button. The raised bed in the new California was longer and wider, and promised high reclining comfort thanks to a slatted frame.
Three years after first being presented, the California was also available with a solid high roof. The "no limit" design study was additionally presented completely in white. Series production of the "NoLimit", in slightly modified form, was scheduled to start just prior to the 2007 Caravan Salon. Only 222 of these numbered and extensively equipped vehicles, including a manufacturer's certificate, were available for sale to customers.
The very same year, the California was joined by its puristic brother: The "Beach". The two-passenger bench seat, which could be folded into a bed, was located on the right in the rear. A stowage box for widening the bed was situated to the left of this. An upholstered luggage compartment cover extends the length of the bed. Side pockets and a luggage net were fitted as standard in the model version with standard roof. These were not installed the pop-up roof.
To kick off the 2008 model year, Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge is presenting an attractively priced special model with a rear bicycle rack. The "Biker" is characterised by its extensive standard equipment and its price advantage of 3890 euro. The California is therefore an ideal sports companion. Belgian racing legend Jacky Ickx is of the same opinion; since mid-2008, he has been travelling to various events in a California 4MOTION, and calls the touring vehicle "the optimal vehicle for my trips".
Source:Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles