This time next week, those of us fortunate enough to go to Frankfurt will likely be passed out after a long day of press conferences, caffeine crashes and schnitzel binges. Two of the more compelling concepts we expect to see in Germany include the Volkswagen City Expert and Toyota's Endo microcar, both of which will likely see production in an effort to provide diminutive, low-cost transport across the globe. Fiat apparently wants in on the action too.
According to Automotive News, Fiat may be developing its own sub-compact runabout, based off the Panda and 500 platform, only with 300mm lopped off. Able to seat four, the concept will be powered by a 65 HP, 900cc two-cylinder engine, but it won't make its debut until sometime next year.
The article also sheds light on both the VW and Toyota vehicles, with the former coming in at about 3,400 mm and the latter stretching a full 3,150 mm. Skoda and Seat, affiliates of Volkswagen, are likely to get their own versions later, both powered by either a two- or three-cylinder engine that lies flat underneath the rear seats. Expect to see variants of the City Expert in both Tokyo and Los Angeles later this year.
Whether or not either of automaker can make a profit on these vehicles is a question that has sparked debate among analysts, but regardless, expect Toyota's Endo to make it to production in 2009 and VW's City Expert around the same time.
[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]