Volkswagen AG said it is delaying the launch of its retro-designed Microbus van by one year to 2007 in a bid to make the vehicle less expensive to produce, reports The Wall Street Journal.


The move represents another step back from a strategy to build more higher-priced and luxury vehicles, especially for the company’s core VW brand, the paper said.


The Microbus, which was presented as a concept car in 2001, was originally designed for the U.S. market as a yuppie version of the old hippie cruiser, with lots of pricey options such as built-in video screens, power sliding doors, a rear-view camera and Internet access.


However, the strategy has floundered because Volkswagen can ill-afford to spend too much on a vehicle that was increasingly being viewed within Wolfsburg as a costly gamble. It will now look to find ways to reuse more parts from its Transporter cargo van.


Volkswagen had planned the new Microbus specifically for the U.S. market, but wants to rework the car so it can sell elsewhere as well. “The sole focus on the U.S. market would have put into question the success of the model, primarily because of the persistent unfavourable exchange rates and market conditions,” the company said.