The new Volkswagen Transporter comes onto the market in the spring of 1979. In addition to many technical innovations on the running gear and engine, the vehicle has a newly designed body with improved visibility, increased space and greater utility. The third generation of the Volkswagen Transporter creates a minor revolution: the frame under the body was to some extent "calculated away" by computer using finite element calculation, and the vehicle was also made more rigid. The fact that the start of this T3 was not as overwhelming as hoped for was probably due to its performance. The boxer engine was still air-cooled and it had to cope with an unladen weight of 1,385 kg. With the smaller (1584 ccm) engine it was no faster than 110 kph. Even the most powerful version (1970 ccm/ 51 kW/68 bhp) drove the vehicle at a maximum speed of 127 kph on the motorway – 3 kph slower than its predecessor. The indisputable advantages of the new model had a difficult time initially in impressing international customers. Only when the water-cooled boxer engine, and above all the diesel engine, assured more output and pulling power did the third generation Transporter become successful. It had a lot to offer: the 125 mm wider body now offered three fully fledged seats in the cab; track and wheelbase were larger, yet the turning circle was smaller. The entire interior was now larger, more airy, safer and had taken on a more modern look. However, the most important innovation was concealed under this covering: driving safety and comfort had made a huge leap forwards. The front axle – double wishbones, progressive coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers plus an anti-roll bar – was an ideal complement to the semi-trailing arm rear axle which was in principle unchanged. The payload now increased to weights near the magic figure of 1,000 kg: 995 kg with the 1.6 litre engine, 30 kg less on the heavy 2 litre vehicle. Not only active safety but also passive safety was increased. Crash tests helped in the development of those elements that absorb energy and are designed to crumple in the event of a frontal or side crash. Impact protection at knee height is concealed at the front of the cab and the doors have robust side impact protection profiles. The introduction of the 4-cylinder in-line diesel did not come until 1981. With the addition of the diesel engine, the third Transporter generation really took off; a year later, this was followed up by the powerful, water-cooled boxer engine. The Volkswagen and M.A.N. joint venture truck with a gross vehicle weight of between 6 and 9 tonnes was presented at the IAA in Frankfurt.