Volkswagen is converting its Up city vehicle into a range of entry-level cars to reach its goal of 10 million vehicle sales annually by 2018 and to grab a portion of the market from Fiat. The German vehicle manufacturer has been unsuccessful in finding the one real successor to the original Beetle, thus, it is testing several models to embark on the market for basic, affordable transportation.
Prior to the Up urban vehicle, attempts on the VW Fox and Lupo have failed. Volkswagen's Seat and Skoda brands are selling Up clones. Also, a cut-rate variant will be aimed for first-time purchasers in China, India and Brazil. Analyst Albrecht Denninghoff at Frankfurt-based Silvia Quandt Research commented that the Up is a "fundamental milestone" for VW to hit its sales goal.
The expanded range of this city vehicle will "really increase the pressure" on the rivals in the segment in which they generate their finance. Sales of the subcompact are increasing as governments urge carmakers to manufacture vehicles that consume less fuel and purchasers seek vehicles ideal for driving in urban centers. Minicar sales such as Fiat Panda and Up could increase 25% worldwide to 11.2 million units by 2015, IHS Automotive revealed.
After shifting upscale with vehicle models like the 16,950-euro new Beetle and the 68,300-euro ($89,400) Phaeton sedan, the return to basic vehicles indicates a key test for Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn, who arranged the development of the Up after he took charge in 2007 to help the automaker become the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world.
VW became a worldwide automotive power with the support of the Beetle, which is the original "people's car." After more than 60 years, the original unit (which became synonymous with cheap, basic transportation) went out of production in 2003. Volkswagen has been unsuccessful in gaining traction in this segment, with the 9,850-euro ($12,860) Up making its third attempt to manufacture an internationally successful subcompact.
The side profile of the up! reveals that the surfaces have significant flares and the style is defined by the alternating concave and convex shapes. Just on top of the side sill is a small concave groove which helps highlight the continuous surface. In addition, with the exception of the side windows and the wheel housings, the side profile does not display any edges or seams.
Placed on the wheel housings are the wheels with lateral surfaces, also known as wheel mirrors. Because of this, the wheels look large even if the wheels have a small diameter, around 14 inches to 16 inches. Looking at it on the front, the lines of its bumper give the up! a look as if it’s smiling. The headlights are integrated with the integrated daytime running lights and in the middle of it is a narrow black band. This is also where the Volkswagen logo has been placed, which is the only element in chrome for the entire front section.
Further, the VW up! does not need any large air cooling intake since it utilizes a small natural gas and petrol engine. The brand revealed that it will release one equipped with an electric motor in the near future. Compared to other models of the brand, the headlights of the up! are smaller. Even then, they remain to be more pronounced, visually.
According to Volkswagen Brand Head of Design Klaus Bischoff, all of the models have the same style when it comes to the design of the front section. This includes the up! and all the way to the Phaeton, he added. All of these different models are unified with style elements, Bischoff continued, like putting focus on horizontal lines which are able to merge to headlights and the grille.
It also joins the shortness of the angles. Even with these obvious elements, he said further, all models from the brand can be easily differentiated with each other. Bischoff added that what is important are the proportions of the individual parts. Thus it results in individualized models that go through the lineup starting with the up! going to the Phaeton, he concluded.