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Volkswagen Atacama 4WD van concept


October 6, 2006

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October 7, 2006 Ooooh, we really like this one - VW has revealed a striking off-road vehicle based on the recently-launched Crafter van. Named Atacama, after the desert in South America, the four-wheel drive concept is the product of the Volkswagen Design Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany, and shows further potential for the Crafter in the leisure and fun segment. ’could become a limited production vehicle. VW Sales Manager, Harald Schomburg, is very enthusiastic and is seeking customer feedback. "If it is positive", says Schomberg, "we will build a series of up to 100 vehicles." So there you have it folks - email your local distributor if you think this is a good idea.

‘The Atacama concept is a fresh and modern interpretation of a four-wheel drive Crafter, combining function and individuality,’ says the team leader and exterior designer, Ralf Dekena. The design study gains its striking presence through its proportions. The front end, with slight modifications and the aluminium components such as the radiator, headlights or air vents, also add to the Atacama’s powerful appearance. The side air inlets in the wings lend the Atacama a sporty finish.

For protection during off-road use, the vehicle has been equipped with robust panelling and powerfully modelled wheel arches. Aluminium inserts further emphasise its off-road appeal and give the Atacama a more exclusive appearance. Offsets and stamps are repeated thematically on the wheel arches. The unique side window design demonstrates the integration of exterior and interior.

The designer responsible, Romain Chareyre, explains: ‘The design study shows further potential for the Crafter in the leisure and fun segment.’

The roof railing formed in a U-shape with integrated box is a modern interpretation of a carrier system. To match this element, the team designed the rear ladder which frames the brand logo in its shape and also has the door handle integrated in it.

The member of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles board of management with responsibility for sales, Harald Schomburg, is very enthusiastic: ‘The absolute highlight of the Crafter presentation is the concept vehicle Atacama with four-wheel drive application by Achleitner.

‘It emphasises the strikingly masculine features of the vehicle and is our idea of a Crafter off-road vehicle. I'm very curious about the customer reaction – if it is positive we will build a series of up to 100 vehicles.’

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
1 Comment

Great idea. There has never been a factory produced 4WD van and people have to rely on after market modifiers and very heavy and very fuel inefficient vehicles. Fuel economy is very important when you are going to be many miles from a gas station.

This would be a great vehicle for surfers, skiers, climbers, nature photographers, and similar enthusiasts. Only design problem is providing both a pop-up top for standing room inside when parked and a roof rack for people\'s toys (bikes, surfboards, kayaks, etc.).

In a way it would be a bigger brother to the Honda Element which has proven to be very popular as a utility vehicle for everyday use.

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