Volkswagen EA489 Basistransporter

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Volkswagen EA489 Basistransporter
VW Hormiga front left.jpg
Manufacturer Volkswagen AG
Also called Volkswagen Hormiga
Volkswagen EA489
Volkswagen Mitra
Marquez Trakbayan
Production 1975 - 1979
Assembly Hanover, Germany
Puebla, Mexico
Body and chassis
Class Basic utility vehicle
Body style 2-door platform truck
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive
Related Teijo (Finland)
Engine 1.6 L Volkswagen air-cooled
Transmission 4-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,395 mm (94.3 in)
Length 4,064 mm (160.0 in)
Width 1,684 mm (66.3 in) at cab
Height 1,988 mm (78.3 in)
Kerb weight 1,290 kg (2,844 lb)

The Volkswagen EA489 Basistransporter was a small front-wheel drive platform truck with a front-mounted Volkswagen air-cooled engine. Created by Volkswagen AG, It was about the size of a modern-day Volkswagen Polo and is perhaps one of the rarest Volkswagens in the world due to the fact it was never sold in a developed market.


It was built between 1975 and 1979, with only 2,600 units produced in completely knocked down kits in Hanover, Germany; and 3,600 units were produced in Puebla, Mexico, between 1977 and 1979 for the Mexican market where it was known as the Hormiga. The car was developed to compete with recent very basic utility vehicles developed by Ford and GM specifically for sale in East Asia, with the intent of opening new markets there and in Africa.[1]

In Finland a truck called the Teijo, closely related to the EA-489, was built by the Wihuri Group from 1975 until 1976. About 200 were made, with some sent to Africa as foreign aid.

It was evaluated for production in the following countries: Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico. It was built and sold in Turkey as the EA489, in the Philippines as the Trakbayan ("Country Truck" in Filipino), in Indonesia as the Mitra ("Partner"), and in Mexico as the Hormiga ("Ant" in Spanish).

The Finnish Teijo truck

The Indonesian Mitra, built by P.T. Garuda Mataram Motor Company in Jakarta, featured the cowl of a Volkswagen Type 2 (T2b). A number of bodystyles, ranging from a naked cowl to an ambulance, were available. The Mitra's T2b body featured a front mounted grille and the pickup variations featured a bed more distinctly separated than the beds of its T2 cousins. A 93 km/h (58 mph) top speed was promised.[2]


Chassis: simple ladder frame.
Engine Configuration: air-cooled flat four-cylinder 'boxer', overhead valve (OHV) with pushrods.
Engine Displacement: 1,584 cubic centimetres (96.7 cu in).
Motive DIN Power: 33 kilowatts (45 PS; 44 bhp) at 4,000 revolutions per minute, 37 kW (50 PS; 50 bhp).
Powertrain Layout: front mounted engine (under the cab), front-wheel drive.
Suspension: FRONT - independent, longitudinal torsion bars & wishbones. REAR - rigid unpowered solid axle with leaf springs.
Roadwheels: 4.5J x 14"
Maximum Speed: 85 kilometres per hour (52.8 mph).
Payload: 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lb).

Italics = Mexican specified Hormiga


  1. ^ Wilkins, Gordon (December 1972). "Volkswagenwerk plans new cars and engines". CAR (South Africa). Vol. 16 no. 11. Cape Town, South Africa: Ramsay, Son & Parker (Pty) Ltd. p. 11. 
  2. ^ The Indonesian basic transporter: Mitra - powered by Volkswagen (brochure), Jakarta, Indonesia: P.T. Garuda Mataram Motor Company, p. 3 
  3. ^ Information sourced from book (Volkswagens of the World) by Simon Glen.