VW starts production of long-awaited ID.Buzz EV but will price and packaging limit its appeal?

In Volkswagen’s battery-electric ID range, perhaps no model has caused as much excitement as the ID.Buzz. This part-of-part MPV is positioned both visually and thematically as the spiritual successor to the popular Type 2 Transporter, which became an icon in the mid-20s.ecentury driving thanks to its flexible interior and ‘cute’, curvy styling.

After years of teasers and previews, VW has finally started full production of the ID.Buzz at its commercial vehicle plant in Hanover, with the first models destined to hit the European market later in 2022. The company expects early production to be modest, with 2022 estimates capped at around 15,000 models, but it could be fewer if there are speed bumps in the production increase. Ultimately, VW believes the Hanover line can produce as many as 130,000 ID.Buzz models per year, divided into passenger and cargo versions.

Looking at our latest sales forecasts for the new model, we expect VW to reach this sales level around 2030. Typically, we expect sales of a new model to rise rapidly towards the start of its life cycle, as consumer hype will be at its peak at this point. From there, we generally see a gradual decline as the model ages and potential customers migrate to competing brands with newer alternatives. However, we expect the ID.Buzz to buck this trend as sales numbers are likely to be limited by production – in other words, VW will sell every single ID.Buzz it makes, with parts supply being the main limiting factor As stocks recover, more can be built and so more will be sold.

With the hype surrounding the ID.Buzz, you could be sure to haile the vehicle as a definite future sales success for VW. However, we believe the model has a handful of flaws that could limit its appeal when it goes on sale. A possible problem is the price. The cargo entry-level versions are expected to cost around EUR 46,000, while passenger variants will cost around EUR 10,000 more. This is quite high and could push ID.Buzz out of reach of the buyers it hopes to target, potentially reducing volumes unless prices drop in the future. Indeed, that price pits it against models like the Tesla Model Y and, in the US, the Ford F-150 Lightning — both of which are likely to have a larger addressable customer base.

Another potential issue facing the new ID.Buzz is VW’s decision to initially launch the passenger variant only in the form of five seats in Europe. Most MPV and van competitors that the ID.Buzz will be cross-shopping against will have at least seven seats, and buyers in this segment expect a certain level of practicality from their vehicle. That the ID.Buzz will be expensive in addition to offering fewer seats than most alternatives could limit its appeal and thus sales. VW plans to offer the ID.Buzz in a variety of configurations in the future – including a seven-seat, long-wheelbase option – but the decision not to launch with a seven-seat version could disappoint or encourage buyers to wait for improved, future variants.

See also: Supplying VW parts to ID.Buzz

This article was first published on GlobalData’s dedicated research platform, the Automotive Intelligence Center

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