Volkswagen Up may Join Growing Minicar Segment in U.S.

The Volkswagen Up brand may be scheduled to go on sale in early 2011 in Europe, but so far it was to be kept off our shores. Volkswagen AG is now considering bringing one or more body styles of the Up brand to the U.S. to help the company meet its ambitious goal of selling 1 million units per year by 2018.

Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said that body styles of the Up family may be suitable for the United States and that the vehicle is perfect for urban markets- a statement echoed with many minicars. Jacoby also added the decision “is a bit too much in the future.”

The Up brand is planned to go on sale in Europe in 2011- after a several month delay because of an engine change. There are several variants planned including a hatchback, a sedan, and a small minivan. VW executives have said the small minivan would be most-suited to life in the U.S. as it is the largest of the three planned variants.

One of the main concerns for VW executives about bringing the Up brand minicars to the U.S. is pricing the car properly. People are used to paying a premium in Europe, but in the U.S., buyers usually will opt for a larger car if it’s the same price. Brands such as Mini are the exception.

VW has shown us concept vehicles of all three variants of the Up brand: a hatchback at the Frankfurt Motor Show, a four-door mini-minivan in Tokyo, and a small RWD electric minivan in Los Angeles. Production models may look significantly different as the Up has gone from rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive to front-engine, front-wheel-drive.

Source: Automotive News


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