Volkswagen’s Up! is a big move in the minicar segment

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 1, 2011

Volkswagen AG, the largest car manufacturer in Europe, is adding its cheapest and smallest vehicle to its 62-model portfolio at its namesake brand division in order to take advantage of the growing demand for fuel-efficient compact rides. The Volkswagen Up, a four-seater, will cost around 9,500 euros or $13,800.

It will rival the Aygo, the segment-leading Fiat Panda, and the units from Renault, Peugeot and Citroen in the segment of the mass vehicle market that is least affected by the international economic slowdown.

The Up will be the first-ever vehicle built by VW entirely from scratch that will be launched into the market under CEO Martin Winterkorn, who took over the company in January 2007, according to Autonews. The vehicle is strategically vital for Winterkorn, as VW wants to obtain the top global sales position in the industry by 2018, outperforming General Motors Co and Toyota.

Analyst Henner Lehne from Frankfurt-based research firm IHS Automotive commented that VW is “plugging a meaningful gap in its portfolio." The analyst added that one cannot afford to be lacking a solid foundation in the budget segment if it wants to be the world leader.

Brace yourselves for one of the biggest happenings in the small car segment. The Volkswagen UP! will show the world why there is so much more to see in such a very small package.

Considered as the smallest 4-seater, the Volkswagen UP! measures only 1.48 metres tall, 1.64 metres wide and 3.54 metres long. However tiny it may seem, the 2.42 metre extensive wheelbase maximises every inch of space there is.

The “up and smiling” contour around the bumper is enhanced with a black strip that go all the way between the chrome logo and the new headlights, (which now has the latest daytime running light function to boot). Meanwhile, the headlights are visibly smaller as compared to the other Volkswagen models.

Besides all these, the mini Volkswagen doesn’t need any big air-cooling intakes at all since it has a small engine. UP! is available in natural gas and petrol and will also come out in electric motor version real soon.

Volkswagen Head of Design Klaus Bischoff explained how UP! and Phaeton used the same styling principles. The front-end in particular has similar horizontal lines as well as the precise short angles and combination of the grille and headlamps are obviously the same. But basically, each brand has its own unique identity most especially when it comes to volume.

The Volkswagen UP! is predominantly designed with concave and convex outlines on the sides. The alternating form enhances the flow of the design while not showing any edges or seams anywhere other than the side windows and wheel housings.

On the other hand, the perfectly designed wheel housings with mirrors make the wheels look bigger than it is. The small diameter of the wheels is “upsized” to 14-16 inch by optical illusion.

Meanwhile, the very distinct windows with short angles connecting to the edge and the bonnet complement the ascending line found at the rear window. The same line extends to the C-pillar and at the rear wheel. It only goes to show how the strong proportions are more emphasised with the same interchanging lines found along the short overhangs and the car’s extensive wheelbase.

The vertical curves along the bumper are also uniquely “UP” to the standards. In fact, the lines are also visible around the huge “hybrid” bootlid at the rear. This bootlid apparently has 3 basic frameworks where the first stage is basically the construction of the body, then followed by the welding of the metal sheets and lastly the integration glass elements.

This 3-dimensional styling is seen up to the lower end of the lid as well as over the rear windows. And last but not the least, the contrasting chrome and black accents for the logo completes the entire look. Truly, there are a lot of big surprises in stored in the new Volkswagen UP! You just need a keen eye for smaller details.

Topics: vw, vw up

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