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Do VW Camper Vans Hold Their Value?

Cream colored VW van in a store parking lot

Camper vans have long been popular for taking on adventures where you can easily travel and sleep in the same spot. More compact than an RV and often more comfortable than sleeping in a tent, the camper van gives you an opportunity to camp with a little more comfort. With any vehicle, depreciation is a concern, forcing you to consider if this is a worthwhile investment.

Do VW camper vans hold their value? Volkswagen camper vans have long been an icon for van enthusiasts. With their consistent popularity and brand recognition, VW camper vans retain their value much better than other brands. VWs in good condition, vintage models, or models with upgraded features will be worth more.

We have broken down the different models of VW camper vans and whether they are a worthy investment based on their ability to hold value. With any vehicle, you can expect depreciation to occur, but the VW camper vans prove to be an excellent investment by the time you are looking to resell the vehicle.

We also have a post to help you decide if camper vans are a good investment, learn more here.

Do Some Years and Models of VW Vans Hold Their Value Better?

It is important to note that while VW camper vans tend to hold their value over time, some will do so better than others. There have been many generations of camper vans since Volkswagen started producing them in the 1950s, with some models, years, and features being more desirable than others.

One of the main reasons VW camper vans hold value well is because of their cultural and nostalgic value.

You can get quality camper vans of different brands that will hold value. Still, the history and popularity of the VW drive their value higher and decrease their rate of depreciation. VW has always been the staple in the industry and has maintained popularity.

Some key elements will impact the VW camper vans ability to hold value:

Popularity: If a specific van or model is in higher demand, it will depreciate less. Buyers are willing to pay a higher price for the product, especially ones that are well-maintained. Demand is one of the most significant forces driving the lack of depreciation for VW camper vans.

Features: Camper vans with more features are going to hold better value because they offer more comfort and convenience to the user. For example, the manual transmission may not be as valuable to someone, or poor fuel efficiency impacts decisions.

Age: Unless someone is purchasing a vintage model for its appearance and nostalgic value, older vehicles will be less valuable as they are not updated and may not be as reliable. They often do not perform as well, offer less fuel efficiency, and may require more work and repairs.

Condition: How well the van is kept up, and the number of miles on it will have a significant impact on the amount of money you can resell it for. To maximize value, try and protect the van from extreme elements, also clean and take care of it accordingly.

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These VW Camper Vans Hold Their Value Best

There are specific models and years of VW that will hold their value better than others. These take the considerations mentioned above in mind. You should consider some of these models if you want to maximize your investment:

VW Transporter Type 2: This is the popular bus model that you would see in the 1950s and 60s, coming in a variety of colors and still serving your camping needs. They require more upkeep as they are old vehicles and are the most “classic” of VW’s offerings.

VW T5: One of the newest generations of Transporter, you are getting way more features and variations, with upgrades available in this style. This model is the ultimate camping machine that is updated while still reminiscent of the past. This model started production in 2003.

VW California camper: Another new model that pays homage to VW camper roots, the California model has shown to be very valuable as it has incredibly low depreciation.

Red and white California VW camper

Another factor to consider is the amount of money and time you will put into maintaining the camper van. While old models may be cool and hip, they can often require a lot more investment in terms of upkeep and repairs. These may not be the most suitable for taking camping, but rather keeping as a classic.

We have a post that goes more in-depth on how well camper vans hold their value. You can read it here.

How Valuable Is a Particular VW Camper Van?

Here is a calculator where you can type in the details of a specific model VW Transporter (one of the most widely available VW camper van models) and get an idea of its depreciation and value over time. It predicts that VW camper vans hold upward of 75% of their value after three years (this will vary by age, upkeep, and demand).

Are Some VW Camper Van Models More Sought After?

Typically the models that depreciate the least are also the ones that are most highly sought after. They depreciate less because they are popular, and people are willing to pay a higher price to get them once you put it on the market! We want to feature some models that are highly sought after in the VW camper van line in a bit more detail.

VW camper vans have also made a greater comeback in more recent years as trends have shown an increased interest in camping and spending time outdoors. With that comes the cult following that the VW camper has maintained as the ‘hip and cool’ option for recreational vehicles.

There are two models of VW camper vans that are the most highly sought after. The Type 2 Transporter and the newer VW California. Transporters of every generation are sought after, but the ones that remind us of the early VW days are often the most recognizable and regarded. These are some key features and reasons why people want them:

Type 2 Transporter: This car was synonymous with the 60s, era of free love, and camping. It has a very unique look that has been revered as time has passed. While not equipped with many features (as the technology was not available), the ample space provides you with necessary sleeping arrangements while camping. Even those who do not camp find value in this classic van.

VW California: This camper van is not available for purchase in the United States but has become incredibly popular for camping and to own in Europe. It is functional like the newer Transporters, but also holds some of the vintage feel you want out of a traditional camping van. Of almost all-new VW camper van models, it holds its value exceptionally well at up to 75% after three years. It is also comfortable, can sleep up to 4 people, and is ideal for family vacations.

If you plan to use your VW camper van often, take care of it, and get a lot of joy and cool experiences out of the vehicle, you are going to be creating a lot of value. This, combined with the very slow economic depreciation of the vehicle, will leave you feeling as though you got a lot out of the van while still recouping a lot of the money once you do decide to sell.

When investing in a camper van, Volkswagens are a smart choice due to their brand recognition and admiration from the marketplace. While some models, the classics, and the newer and fully equipped vans, are often more valuable, almost all VW camper vans are going to be an excellent investment if they check off your boxes for your next adventure.

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The western part of the country draws me with its mountains, deserts, and red rock vistas. Still, there are numerous other wonders I'm ready to explore., from Maine's rugged coast to California's Big Sur cliffs and everywhere between.