Brazilian VW Buses vs German VW Buses

VW Bus For Sale California and Vintage Bus For Sale

There is often a lot of criticism and sometimes downright hate for Brazilian buses when you visit VW Facebook groups and from some VW enthusiast groups in general.  As is often the case on polarizing issues ignorance vs facts is the cause of confusion.  To many VW purists have out right hate for Brazilian buses.  Hate always stems from fear and usually from ignorance.

So why do some have a strong dislike and contempt for VW Kombis from Brazil?  Below is my speculation as you can’t say it’s absolute but I’m fairly certain of the underlying reasons:

  1. They fear that Brazilian buses will lower the value of their German made vehicle. – While it does moderately increase the supply of VW buses in the US and Europe.  The value of both Brazilian and German buses have increased in parallel.  If anything, the popularity of VW buses in general have increased due to more buses being accessible to the average enthusiast.
  2. It’s my opinion that the biggest reason for the negative knee jerk reactions to Brazilian Kombis is due to uneducated enthusiasts that want to be accepted by other respected enthusiasts that fear Brazilian buses make their German made buses somehow less special. – You can call this the “well all the cool kids dislike them so I’m going to dislike them” reason.
  3. Stereotypes are often based in fact.  What the purists have correct is that, on average, the Brazilian Kombi bus is inferior to the German made bus. – This is why VW Bus Guy exists and, I believe, in great part of why we are successful.  We help bridge the gap and fear of getting a crappy bus with the confidence that we will hold our suppliers accountable and thoroughly document our restorations.  Brazilians are a wonderful group of people with a wonderful culture (I spend quite a lot of time in Brazil) but one aspect of that culture is that they will cut corners to get ahead.  In Brazilian business culture, you are considered smart and clever.  This is the root of where some folks gave Brazilian buses a bad reputation.  I delved into this deeper on my opinion of this on my last post in greater detail but the bottom line is while we are not the least expensive, we make sure you’re not taken advantage of and are extremely happy with your purchase.
  4. People worry that prices are too high as it is and they see Brazilian buses auctioned over $100,000. – First, auction prices are not the value of a bus.  It’s an environment where a lot of things fall into place and people with deep pockets and no sense of reality go to.  It DOES show where the top of the market is.  But the harsh reality is that it’s more than likely prices will continue to rise as pretty soon (the next five years), AND THIS IS IMPORTANT, split window VW buses will be harder to find in Brazil than they will be in the US.  Supply and demand rarely fails a market.

Bottom Line

All things being equal, would I rather have a German bus than a Brazilian bus?  Absolutely as the German bus has about twice the value from an investing point of view.  Buses from the VW factory near São Paulo are a slightly different bus with a different market and value than their German counterparts.  BUT, the smiles, waves and thumbs up that you get from passersby every mile or so (try stopping for gas without receiving a compliment) are the exact same for either bus.  Better said, the enjoyment you receive from your Brazilian bus is the same of that from the German made bus.

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About Author

Vintage Bus For Sale and VW Bus Brazil Import

Scott Mills

Hi! My name is Scott Mills and I'm the VW Bus Guy. I travel to Brazil to find and restore Kombi Buses (the Brazilian name for VW Buses).

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