Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has offered a glimpse at its California Concept, offering a look ahead to the future of the model series.
The production version of the new generation Volkswagen California is scheduled to be built at the Hanover plant in Germany from 2024 onwards.
Based on the long Multivan, the new California will benefit from plug-in hybrid technology.
Full details remain limited until its official unveiling at the Caravan Salon trade fair in Düsseldorf later this month but Van Life Matters understands that it’s likely to be available with double sliding doors.
Over four generations, more than 260,000 Californias have been sold to date.
The history of the California began in 1988 with a special campervan model based on the T3 generation of the Transporter.
Later that same summer, this first California was showcased at the Caravan Salon trade fair.
It was available to order in the two colours “Pastel White” and “Masala Red”.
The interior designers demonstrated their sense of style with the cleanly designed white-grey kitchenette.
An attractive price (DM 39,900), clever details and robust technology of the Transporter van immediately made the California a bestseller – 5,000 units were sold already in the first year.
In the years that followed, the California evolved from a special model into its own model series, becoming increasingly popular and winning over 22,000 campervan drivers in just three years.
The change from the T3 to the T4 in August 1990 was equivalent to a technical revolution.
After four decades of rear-wheel-drive Transporter vehicles with four- cylinder flat engines, the commercial vehicle specialists simply turned everything on its head: They moved the engine forwards and powered the front axle from there.
This changed everything: the design, the running gear, the engines and the space available.
There was now significantly more space, especially in the rear.
And the California T4 made perfect use of this extra room: providing more space to travel than any other campervan of that time.
The slogan on the adverts for the market launch was: “Hotel California. A quiet location, comfortable equipment, panoramic views guaranteed”, taking its reference from the Eagles song and the West Hollywood hotel featured in it.
All in all, the California T4 was yet another hit, selling around 39,000 units by 2003.
The California based on the fifth generation of the Transporter introduced a new dimension of comfort for compact campervans.
However, this California also remained true to the innovative space concept of the original model.
By 2015, around 55,000 camper enthusiasts had opted for a T5 California, which had long since become the most successful campervan in its class.
Details such as the bed with slatted mattress base integrated into the pop-up roof, the camping chairs stowed in the tailgate, or the camping table clicked into the sliding door gave the California its reputation as the Swiss army knife for campers.
The California based on the sixth generation of the Transporter followed in 2015; with its numerous assistance systems, it took sales to a new level: In 2017, the T6 California broke the record of the model series with 15,155 new registrations in one year.
On 30 August 2019, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles presented the California 6.1 – of course at the Caravan Salon.
More than 175,000 California vehicles had been built by this time.
The new California 6.1 seamlessly continued the success story of its predecessors.
One of its new features was a touchscreen in the roof console, which could be used to control all the main camper van settings and call up a wide range of information.
On board the California Concept, this display will be transformed into a screen in tablet format and show a new smart side of the campervan.