Westfalia pop-up campers will soon be back in the US RV market
First the microbus, now the Westie. Iconic German camper brand Westfalia, still beloved coast-to-coast across America for the pop-up Volkswagen vehicles it built decades ago, is deep in plans for a major American comeback. Its new van will not be based on a Volkswagen model, but will be a classic pop-up with sleeping space for the family.
2003 is sometimes confused as the year Westphalia left North America, but that was just the last year that Volkswagen sold the Eurovan/Type 2 series of trucks on the continent. By that point, Westphalia was owned by DaimlerChrysler, and Volkswagen was moving its camper program in-house.
DaimlerChrysler’s decade at the helm of the company brought a new Westfalia to America—the James Cook-based Mercedes Sprinter sold in Europe as the Dodge Sprinter Westfalia with the help of another popular brand: Airstream. Airstream imported approximately 200 pickup trucks in 2005 and 2006, but when sales did not meet expectations, it scrapped the model, leaving Westfalia to quietly exit the United States.
After nearly two decades, Westfalia is officially back on the road with the help of Canadian brand Roadtrek. Roadtrek was acquired in 2019 by French group Rapido, which also owns Westfalia. Since this acquisition, Roadtrek has continued to focus on its core range of camper vans, including the Zion, but is also working behind the scenes with the folks at Rapido and Westfalia to plan the latter’s return to the market where it is still fondly remembered as a freedom-of-the-road icon.
Westfalia North America will host the official relaunch in 2024, and will show potential dealers its first product this month. We’d like to say it’ll be the centerpiece of the sun-soaked display at the Hershey Fair this week, a natural venue for the first time billed as America’s largest RV show, but Westphalia North America will remain in stealth mode for now, keeping the preview reveal exclusively for dealers in RV Dealer Open House in Elkhart, Indiana, later in September.
The initial teaser image for the truck, which is simply called the “North American Westfalia Truck”, was mostly obscured by a few positive vibes and surfer-looking breaks, but it does show what is clearly a full-size truck – no surprise there since they are small trucks. Medium sized species that died out in North America. We can’t say we immediately recognized the truck by its nose and forehead, but a closer comparison of those dimples and lines shows that this truck is a Ram ProMaster. This makes sense because Westfalia has a lot of experience working with the ProMaster’s Italian-titled cousin, Fiat Ducato. The truck in the teaser also gives a peek at its pop-up roof.
In Europe, Westfalia currently offers the Fiat Ducato-based Columbus camper van with an optional pop-up roof. The Columbus Series features a classic floor plan, starting with the rear double bed raised above the cargo floor. Amidships, campers find a galley block on the passenger side and a wet shower on the driver’s side. The forward area contains a dinette with a two-seater aft bench and swivel driver’s cab seats. The dinette can optionally fold into the bed on some models. We suspect Westfalia will streamline its American relaunch by bringing in a modified version of one or more of its existing Columbus trucks.
We won’t see the details as quickly as we’d like, but with Westfalia launching in the US next year, the wait won’t be long either. The company will build its American camper vans in Ontario and plans to sell them through an exclusive dealer network.
Source: Westphalia North America via RV Business