Why Can’t You Buy a VW Camper Van in the US?

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In certain areas of the United States, seeing a VW camper van isn’t really a rare occasion. The original “hippie” van of the 60s bore the foundation of the current “California” camper van from Volkswagen.

The lineage of Volkzwagon’s camper van creations is strong with collectors in the U.S. That’s making it difficult to understand why Volkswagen won’t move forward with selling and producing the vehicles in the States. 

The new “California” stands to be the best design to date. Plus, the invasion of the global pandemic seemingly set the stage for a staggering increase in interest and potential sales.

Why, then, does Volkswagen seem to see the situation a bit differently? Dig into the details now. Don’t let yourself fall too madly in love with the new “California” along the way, though. 

What Is a VW Camper Van?

A camper van is just as it sounds. It’s a van that can also serve as a camping space. Camper vans provide driving utility just as easily as they provide sleeping and cooking spaces. It’s like a tiny RV, except most aren’t big enough to have a bathroom onboard

Photo courtesy of VW

How Much Does a VW Camper Van Cost?

The new “California” has a base price of $50,000, but a fully equipped version will run you somewhere in the $70,000 range.  

People in the U.S. can pay $70,000 for a pretty sweet RV. But why would they spend that much to purchase a van that has much less space and functionality?  

About the VW Camper California

The current VW California camper van is based on the design of the VW Transporter, which was a direct descendent of the iconic Type 2, better known as the “Hippie Bus.” The “California” is well known for its pop-up roof feature and the long list of features that come standard on the build.  

Photo courtesy of Facebook

VW California Ocean 

The VW California Ocean model is the more supreme of the two discussed here. Ultimately, it really comes down to what you need in a camper van, but the Ocean has pretty much everything you might want, too.  

It comes standard with LED headlights (others don’t), alloy wheels (they’re strong), a wind-out awning, two chairs, a table, a two-burner stovetop, and a refrigerator. It also comes with a sink, an outdoor shower attachment, electric and water taps outside, rear climate control, and so much storage. 

This VW camper van is super capable and more comfortable than you might imagine. However, the VW California Ocean will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $80,000 to $90,000. 

VW California Beach Tour 

The VW California Beach Tour is the “lite” version of the VW California Ocean. It’s a little bit cheaper than the Ocean, and you don’t get as many amenities either. There are some significant differences between the Ocean and the Beach Tour. 

For starters, the California Beach Tour doesn’t come equipped with water tanks, no sink, and no showering capabilities. There’s also not as much storage, no regular headlights (instead of LED), no one burner cooktop, and no awning.  

All is not lost on the Beach Tour, though. There is a bigger bed on the bottom that spans the full width of the van if you choose the three-seater in the back. The price is considerably less expensive at around $68,000. 

Can You Buy a VW Camper Van in the US? 

The answer to the question is yes and no. Currently, Volkswagen does not sell any models of their camper vans in the U.S. The answer is also yes because you can almost always find a VW camper for sale on the secondary market. You can buy a used VW camper van in the States. 

If you needed a new one badly, you could purchase it overseas and have it shipped to the U.S. It also depends on how much you are willing to pay.  

Keep in Mind: If you’re bummed you can’t get a VW camper van, don’t fret. We’ve put together the best camper vans in 2022.

Why Can’t You Buy a VW Camper Van in the US?

In short, you can’t buy a VW camper van in the U.S. because Volkswagen does not think there is a viable enough place in the market for their vehicles. They don’t think they could sell enough camper vans to cover the cost of what it would take to bring them here. 

There are no manufacturing plants set up to build their camper vans, and there would be a long process to venture through with the federal government. As of now, it’s just not worth it for Volkswagen to produce camper vans in the U.S. 

Did VW Miss a Golden Opportunity to Sell Their Camper Vans in the US?

When COVID hit the world, people instantly became more interested in a mobile living space that would allow safer travels during a pandemic. Some would say this was a golden opportunity for VW to make lots of money selling their camper vans in the U.S., but Volkswagen didn’t see it that way. 

There’s Still Hope for the VW ID.Buzz Camper Van

The ID.Buzz is the very first VW camper van that is all-electric, and the company plans to make its comeback in the U.S. with this model. Though you won’t get a really clear image of all the new camper van will include, the early sneak peeks of the vehicle are promising.  

The first reveal of the ID.Buzz in the U.S. is set to be released in March 2022. The price of the Buzz will start around $40,000, making it much more affordable than the other VW camper vans.  

Photo courtesy of VW

Looks Like We’ll Just Be California Dreamin’ 

Until VW camper van enthusiasts can somehow convince Volkswagen that they’ll make money selling some of their VW camper vans in the U.S., it looks like we’ll just be California dreamin’.

With no sign of the VW California Ocean and the VW California Beach Tour any time soon, we’ll just have to hold out hope for the VW ID.Buzz camper.

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