VW has pitted  itself  against its Euro counterparts like Benz and Renault in the mini bus sector with the unveiling of  a mini bus version of its Crafter van in either a 15-seat front drive version or a 12-seat 4Motion model.

 VW says the Crafter Minibus came about as a result of an Australian tender process which was won by Australian based conversion company, Amtek, which is based in the Sydney suburb of Revesby. Volkswagen says it takes it into a new and growing market for mini bus sales. Until the new Crafter mini buses,  the nine seat  Caravelle based on the smaller Transporter  was the extent of its minibus offering.

Importantly Volkswagen says the conversions will be fully approved and warranted with service and repair available through its network of around100 dealers nationally.

Volkswagen Group Australia, national conversion manager, Andrew Hester told the media that the approved converters are required to meet the rigid factory engineering criteria and because of that the vehicles will still carry the normal five-year warranty.

“VGA has a breadth of capability it has never possessed and a range unrivalled elsewhere,” said Hester.

VGA says the Crafter based bus represents a massive step forward in its capability and will also be available during 2020 in medium-and long-wheelbase. All will be equipped with the eight-speed torque converter auto, and will come with additional air-conditioning and heating in the rear passenger area along with a luggage compartment in the rear. Factory options will include satellite-navigation, LED headlights, trendline pack, and driver assist.

 The 4Motion (12 seat MWB version can be fitted with a rear difflock and downhill assist  as well as an electric step available on the front drive and cargo barrier on both versions as well as window tint and off-road componentry.

With a growing demand for mini buses for shuttles, last mile and on demand transport as well as for tourism and schools the Crafter mini bus might just be arriving in time.