VW Has a Big Problem: id.Buzz EV Is Its Worst-Selling 2022 Commercial Vehicle

Volkswagen always seems to have headline-making goals for its cars and trucks. This one wasn’t one of those. Upon release of the long-in-the-works ID.Buzz retro EV van in Europe, VW announced 15,000 units as the target. That surely seems doable, what with its ability to make millions of vehicles each year (4.65 million in 2022). Unfortunately, it delivered less than half that many in 2022. 

What other commercial vehicles does Volkswagen make besides the id.Buzz?

id.Buzz
2024 id.Buzz retro EV van | VW

And when these numbers came out this week, Josef Baumert, part of VW’s production and logistics, proclaimed more glowing targets for the ID.Buzz van. But not until 2024. He said VW would produce 130,000 EV vans every year after this one. But back in September, it said it has over 12,500 orders according to insideevs.

For now, the ID.Buzz van is selling less than any other commercial vehicle that VW sells, per autoevolution. And it sells quite a number of them. From its Amarok pickup and T7 vans, including the T7 Crafter, its version of a Sprinter high-top van, which combined with the old T6 sold a combined 142,600 last year. There are many nameplates within its commercial portfolio.

Why are id.Buzz numbers so low?

id.Buzz
2024 id.Buzz retro EV van | VW

Granted, there was much less expectation that the ID.Buzz would sell in huge numbers in its first year of production. But how many it finally sold becomes like the chicken and the egg. Is it selling poorly because VW is having manufacturing problems, or are there fewer folks wanting a vehicle like this than expected?

And 2022 was a down year for every commercial model VW sold. That meant the ID.Buzz numbers, being new and hyped, had an edge with the vehicle buyers of Europe. But VW’s whole approach with the ID.Buzz has been questionable from before it finally landed in Europe in November.

Hasn’t the id.Buzz been around for a while?

id.Buzz
2024 id.Buzz retro EV van | VW

Development took years, five or six by our timeclocks. And when it finally hit the market, it was a Euro-only deal. The U.S. won’t even get it until 2024, or so VW says. And even then, VW will only sell the long wheelbase version. And just this week it is proclaiming it will do a performance version of the van before it has the ability to sell a reasonable number of the generic version.

Images of both the concept and production ID.Buzz vans have circulated for years and years. The concept debuted in January 2017 in Detroit. For six years, the public has gotten used to the ID.Buzz. Sometimes, that can result in a shopworn product. 

Has any other vehicle taken this long to develop?

id.Buzz
2024? id.Buzz retro EV van | VW
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One that comes to mind is the 2002 Ford Thunderbird. The concept debuted in 1997, also in Detroit. Then for the next several years, it was teased ad nauseum. It even was offered in the Neiman Markus Christmas catalog in 2000. Six years later, it finally went into production. Sales were tepid before Ford finally stopped production in 2005.

With that as a backdrop and the estimated prices we’ve seen floated around, it will be interesting to see how the ID.Buzz does its first couple of years that it’s actually available. Whether by design, fumbling and bumbling, or the sales just aren’t there, we’ll know in a couple of years, unless VW pushes back its U.S. launch further.