VW Thing to relaunch in the U.S. as VW ID. Thingzz? [Update]

In August this year, carmagazine.co.uk had reported that the VW Type 181 could make a comeback this decade as an all-electric car. The British publication called the future model ‘VW Junglezz’. This month it has emerged that Volkswagen has filed a trademark application for ‘ID. Junglezz’ in Europe. The ID. Junglezz is another name rumored for the successor of the VW 181 and a foreshadowing concept could also be taking shape at the VW design studio.

Volkswagen ID. electric car pipeline
The VW ID. line-up would cover everything from a city car (possibly VW ID.1) to a three-row SUV (VW ID.6), as well as some offbeat models like the VW Microbus and maybe even the VW Thing.

The VW 181, or ‘VW Thing’ as Americans remember it, turned 50 last year. It could be coming back to the U.S. mid-decade as the ‘VW ID. Thingzz’. Volkswagen Group is looking for some “fascinating” models to invigorate the ID. family of next-gen electric cars, as per a recent report from autobild.de. Sure, the Bulli or Microbus makes a comeback as the e-Bulli in 2022, reportedly in two wheelbase versions, but that’s not it. Volkswagen has several offbeat models in mind, and one of them is a VW Type 181 successor, says the German scoop story.

The VW Kubelwagen holds a special place in the heart of the company’s top boss Herbert Diess. The German publication says that the Volkswagen Group Chairman is sympathetic about the multi-purpose 4WD vehicle from the World War II era. The VW 181, originally a military vehicle officially known as the VW Kurierwagen (courier car), was a VW Kubelwagen spin-off. The German army had commissioned it, and production began in October 1969. Over 80% of the entire production of the cross-country vehicle was meant for civilian market sales.

VW Thing to use the MEB platform

This isn’t the first time we are hearing of the VW Type 181’s comeback. Back in November 2017, Diess had told autocar.co.uk that “the next decision (after the mainstream VW ID. models) will be what kind of emotional concepts we need.” Explaining what he meant by “emotional concepts”, Diess had clarified that the term covers iconic Volkswagens such as the Microbus, Beetle, Kubelwagen and Buggy.

If relaunched, the VW Thing will be based on a version of the MEB platform. A rear-wheel drive drivetrain layout would be standard and the option for an e-AWD with an additional front electric motor could be available on the top spec variant. The original model had an easy-folding PVC top, but the next-gen model could feature an electrically foldable roof made of new-age material.

The market release of such relatively low-volume VW ID. series models is unlikely to be held before 2023.