Volkswagen "California" Minivan spotted in Malibu

Not sure if these are actually preproduction test cars or some sort of publicity thing but it was pretty cool to see about a dozen of them pull up right next to me.

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That’s really odd, must be for some kind of promotional purposes? They are made in Germany, yet have Michigan manufacturers plates. They are definitely not available in North America though, and they are not covered or Dazzled or anything like that, so they probably aren’t preproduction.

They do a lot of car photos shoots in Malibu. Also many of the car review sites are based in Santa Monica/West LA and do the test drives through the Canyon.
I remember seeing about 6 i8’s fly by me in Malibu several years ago 6 months before they hit dealerships.

These are some ugly looking VW minivans!

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Call me crazy, but I really like these.


They have Michigan manufacturer plates. LA is basically the global hub for automotive promotional shoots, commercials, etc. Companies keep fleets in LA of global products to film TV commercials. I remember being in downtown LA watching a Lancia ad being shot.

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oh geez, it’s actually not available here. Well, that blows.

I don’t think you’ll see them here anytime soon either. They are used mostly as campers, but classified as commercial vans, which subjects them to a 25% tariff (the “chicken tax”). Ford got around this awhile back by importing Transit Connect vans from Turkey in full passenger van trim (2.5% tariff for passenger vehicles) and gutting them when they arrived in port and got through customs. The US Government eventually caught onto the scheme and stopped the practice. Even if it could be done I don’t know if VW would be willing to spend the money to move the installation of all the camper stuff stateside just to sell a few of them here.

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Plus I believe Ferrari own the automotive trademark for California

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Saw one of these in SF on Swiss plates front and back. Definitely an interesting spot!

Californians are ready for the return of the van. MAKE IT HAPPEN.


Looks like this was for something involving Car and Driver.

I may be nuts to want a VW but if/when this comes out I will be mighty tempted. The VW all electric ID Buzz.

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For those interested Car and Driver posted the article on the California mini-vans:

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