Volkswagen pulled the covers off its new VW Caddy earlier this year, with the versatile model now well into its fifth decade.

Originally known as the Rabbit pick-up, the VW Caddy first rolled off the production line in Pittsburgh during 1978 and has since gone on to sell over three million models across four generations – with over 200,000 sold in the UK alone.

Based on the Mk1 Golf, the first-generation model was brought to Sarajevo in 1982, when it was badged as the VW Caddy for the first time. European production would end in 1992, but it continued to be produced at the South African factory in Uitenhage until 2007. Worldwide more than 207,000 units were produced.

The second VW Caddy debuted in 1995, based on the SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo. It was twinned with the SEAT Inca and made on the same production line at the Martorell plant near Barcelona. Following the success of the hard-top conversions of the original, the Caddy 2 was made as a panel van and high-roofed estate, helping to boost versatility. A year later the Caddy pick-up returned, produced in the Czech Republic as a sister vehicle to the Škoda Felicia, followed in 1997 by the Caddy Family, a forerunner of the later compact MPVs. Accounting for all the differently badged versions, sales topped over 500,000.

The third generation of the VW Caddy was a completely new model when launched in 2003, based on the Mk5 Golf and original Touran, with production moved to its current home in Poznan, Poland. It developed from a panel van and estate into a compact MPV with a flexible seven seat configuration, with the Caddy Maxi arriving from 2007. In 2013, the Cross Caddy, was launched as a compact MPV/SUV crossover with robust exterior panels and all-wheel drive.

The fourth generation would continue the versatility, with panel van, estate and compact MPV options, plus and a range of two, five and seven seat configurations. That would pave the way for the very latest Caddy, which was unveiled in February 2020 – over 40 years since the original Rabbit pick-up made its USA debut.