• Apr 9, 2009
Volkswagen Up! Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Here in New York, Volkswagen CEO Stefan Jacoby said the company might be shaking things "Up" again in the States. The on-again, off-again status of the Up! mini-car on these shores is apparently about to go on – again. While the Up! (likely to reintroduce the Lupo nameplate) won't see production until 2012 at the earliest, Jacoby is hinting that it could be on sale here when it debuts: "Up! could be in the future of the market here. In urban areas like New York, a car like Up! has a good chance."

Jacoby, among others, thinks that fuel efficiency will remain a big draw into the future, so cars like the Up! make a lot of sense for VW, returning an anticipated 50 mpg. And that's just in conventional internal-combustion engine configuration. Throw in some of VW's alternative-fuel technology, and that number could go up significantly. "We are looking at second-generation biofuels, electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and nanotechnology," Jacoby said. That doesn't mean VW thinks the end of the ICE is nigh. When the U.S. market starts to rebound at the end of 2009, Jacoby anticipates a total market of 13 million to 14 million vehicles, the vast majority ICEs.

We've already speculated that the Up! will be produced in India, and that we'll most likely get the roomier Space Up! microvan model rather than the smaller three-door hatch version. We're also hearing that the original Beetle-like rear-engine, rear-drive configuration will be swapped to front/front for production. Engine options are said to range from a 600cc turbo to a 1.2-liter three-cylinder, in gas and diesel forms. Mileage could be as high as 80 miles-per-gallon. If it has any of the driving dynamics that Volkswagen is known for, we can see this being a worthy rival for the Honda Fit and Fiat 500 in the fun little econo car class.



[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd.]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This little car looks great! VW wisely avoids the silly exaggerated whimsical-juvenile styling of the Scion iQ and Chevy Spark. VW clearly knows tasetful design, and they have created an appealing little buggy that affords it's owner some dignity, despite the entry-level stigma.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would be concerned about VW support if there was a problem. View my VW experience at: http://www.reesphotos.com/VW/
      John Rees
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you believe anything Stefan Jacoby says then I suggest you go ahead and buy some GM stock while you're at it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who would buy these things? The cars would be a cute for a little while, then disposed of for a real car with a real v8 engine, later on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Patrick,

        You are aware aren't you that the overwhelming majority of cars on the roads in the US at the moment aren't V8's and never will be, right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tomac: I had a 2000 GTI GLX. Unfortunately, I'm intimately familiar with VW's lack of reliability. Perhaps they are better now, but I'm guessing they still aren't good enough.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you joking? That has to be one of the dumbest things I've read in these comment sections in a long time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ... or people who don't realize VW's reliability is dismal.

        I agree the original comment was ridiculous, though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You mean like a V8 from BMW, Mercedes or maybe Toyota?
      Bring Up to USA
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hyundai Accent gets 40 mpg hwy with ~130hp. Up! needs to get better than 60mpg with
      • 5 Years Ago
      Were I in the market for something of this size, a 3 door Up! would top my list. Looks much better than the fugly Yaris, Accent, etc. It's a shame that it won't stay rear engine, rear wheel drive. A 1.2l with a five speed would make a great little city commuter, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Loss of the rear-engine/ rear-drive possibility killed my interest in this car months ago. Just another pint-sized puller? No thanks. VW had the opportunity to introduce something interesting (and quite possibly fun), but the bean counters eliminated that. I guarantee the engineers could have come up with a feasible design.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes I have driven a few and I love the feel of them. The old Porsches are admittedly a handful if you're not careful, but modern 911s (not had the privilege of driving one) are supposedly designed with a much wider safety net. I agree, however, that mid-engine is much better.

        You miss my point-- I was speaking more of fun and interesting with space- and fuel-efficiency built into the design, not something that rivals the Prius for the technological advancement of "dull". FWD is a more efficient package from a manufacturing standpoint, but for someone who likes to drive (not ride) it's inferior to rear-drive setups. I'm not looking for another boring front-driver-- I was hoping VW would make something both quirky and smart.
      • 5 Years Ago
      After owning several VWs including 2 bugs, a Dasher wagon, 2 Westphalias I gave up on them after my '93 Eurovan debacle. Overpriced and full of expensive problems I swore I'd never look at another VW. I would look at one of these...

      (But only with a bumper to bumper, 100k/5yr warranty - it's still a VW after all)
      • 5 Years Ago
      although i have typically a loathing for things VW, i like this. it would be great to bring to production asap, and a welcome alternative to a smart, for a city vehicle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      After the 'rocco debacle (I'm still miffed that it's not coming here), they had damn well bring over a new (lower cost) model. The lineup is getting a bit stale, as it's been the same forever.
        • 5 Years Ago
        After the Sirocco debacle, I say "Hey VW, keep all your sh&#, and f-you!"

        Either bring it all and bring it soon, or go away. You're in no position to tell us what we want and what's good for us, and where and when we should be able to buy it. Isn't your market share only 2%?

        WE, the consumer, will tell YOU what we want and how. Just sell it, and we'll buy it, unless it's an inferior product, in which case, you need to know that too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, I very much like the direction they're going in here - small and innovative without looking overly geared to a young audience. I can see me being very interested in either variant.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey, the 4 door, minivan version actually looks like it could be useful.
    • Load More Comments