Neil Vorano

Neil Vorano

September 28, 2022 3:16 pm


Everyone loves surprises, and more than a few of Canada’s 145 Volkswagen dealers got a pleasant surprise last night with an impromptu showing of the ID. Buzz, the first time the all-electric minivan has made it to North America.

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

The stylish van – a modern throwback to Volkswagen’s Type 2 Bus from the 1950s and ‘60s – was in Toronto for an upcoming advertising film shoot but arrived from Europe earlier than expected. So Volkswagen Canada decided to hold an evening gathering for dealers who wanted to see the new vehicle for the first time in person. Judging from the attendance at the RClub event space last night, there was a lot of interest.

“What’s so fun about the ID. Buzz, like its predecessor, is that it’s a vehicle that connects to all different types of people,” says Patrick Danielson, director, product planning for Volkswagen Canada. “It’s a vehicle that people can picture themselves in having experiences with their friends with their family.

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

“So as a brand that’s on a turning point of moving towards electrification, it’s a perfect opportunity to bring back this famous icon and famous body style, because if there’s anybody can make the minivan fun again, it’s Volkswagen.”

This is the European-spec short-wheelbase version here for the ad shoot; Canada will only get the longer version with a wheelbase stretched by 25 cm and with three rows of seating. We will also get only the AWD version and, while there is still no confirmation of total horsepower, the added motor for AWD means it will be more powerful than the Euro’s rear-drive model that has 201 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque.

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

It will also have the same 82 kWh battery pack (77 kWh usable) as the Euro spec, though Danielson could not reveal the AWD range as of yet (the rear-driver is estimated at 421 km). All ID. Buzz models will be built at the company’s factory in Hanover, Germany.

What we do know is that Volkswagen Canada will be opening pre-orders for the electric van next year through its dealer network, with deliveries scheduled for 2024. VW decided to go this route out of fairness for both its dealers and its customers. Pierre Boutin, president and CEO of Volkswagen Canada, says pre-orders also help in planning its product line.

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

“We’ve learned from the experience of the ID. 4, we’ve had tremendous demand from the customers, not only putting an order but also asking a lot of questions,” says Boutin. “So we want to engage and help our dealer network also with the right information and learn what the customers are looking for.

“It gives us a better understanding what the customer wants, and we want to push sales planning this way. So the customer tells us, ‘This is what I want, this is the colour, this is the package, please build it for us’. Then it’s much easier for us in terms of planning, and then saying okay, this is what we need to get them in the hands of the customer faster than we would normally see.”

Volkswagen Type 1 Bus

Volkswagen Type 1 Bus

“Instead of allotting a certain number [of vehicles] to every dealer,” adds Danielson, “we’re doing the pre-orders to be fair to everyone. It’s not fair if one dealer has 500 orders and one has 50 and giving them the same number of vehicles.”

On hand at the event was Tim Johnston, owner of Hamilton Volkswagen in Hamilton, ON. A self-described fan of EVs, he says he’s had a lot of demand and questions from customers about the ID. Buzz, and he can’t wait to make them available.

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

“The truth of the matter is, will the demand outweigh the supply? Absolutely. It’s an exciting product.

“It’s bringing the excitement and the sense of humor back to the books,” says Johnston. “What it used to represent for Volkswagen, which, in my opinion kind of lost its way a little while ago.

“I think the most important takeaway is this vehicle transcends all demographics. I don’t care if you drive a Jeep, or you drive any other car, you’ll be drawn to the ID. Buzz.”

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at RClub in Toronto

Boutin is also excited at the impending arrival of the ID. Buzz. But the van isn’t just another vehicle in VW’s portfolio, it’s represents another step in its transformation to electric mobility.

“The dealers are extremely enthusiastic about not only the ID cars, but the electric vehicle strategy we put forward for the transformation of our company,” says Boutin.

“We see in Canada right now, we want to make the change. We want people to follow us in the electrification mobility, in basically bringing to the future generations emission-free vehicles for a much better society, and much more enjoyable mobility.”

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Build the Unexpected.

Build the Unexpected.

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