VW baby on way UP!

A baby Volk­swa­gen con­cept is con­firmed for pro­duc­tion, re­ports PAUL GOVER.

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE baby price leader so es­sen­tial to Volk­swa­gen in Aus­tralia could fi­nally be com­ing.

A pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Up! con­cept cars has been con­firmed for 2011 and all the signs point to a car that will be the right size and price to slide in be­low the Polo.

Volk­swa­gen has given few specifics on how the Up! will go from mo­tor­show tease to show­room re­al­ity, but it has cho­sen Slo­vakia as the pro­duc­tion site for what is be­ing called the “New Small Fam­ily”.

This could mean one car or many, to sat­isfy the needs of the Volk­swa­gen, Seat and Skoda brands.

But there will def­i­nitely be three and five-door hatch­backs, at least at first.

Volk­swa­gen Group be­gan its search for a price fighter in 2007 when it un­veiled the orig­i­nal Up! con­cept at the Frankfurt Mo­tor Show, com­plete with a rear-mounted en­gine.

It stretched the idea into a baby peo­ple-mover a few weeks later at the Tokyo Mo­tor Show. It has now cho­sen the fac­tory at Bratislava to build the car, partly be­cause the site al­ready sup­plies four brands.

“Our team at Volk­swa­gen in Slo­vakia is ideally pre­pared to pro­vide the flex­i­bil­ity re­quired for the pro­duc­tion of the New Small Fam­ily,” Volk­swa­gen Group chair­man Martin Win­terkorn said.

Volk­swa­gen is ex­pected to get the Up! first, if it car­ries that name, fol­lowed by Seat and Skoda.

The plans for Aus­tralia are murky, though Volk­swa­gen says it is keen to get the car.

“The Up! is still a con­cept and they have not con­firmed the pro­duc­tion car,” said Volk­swa­gen Group spokesman Karl Gehling.

But he said the “New Small Fam­ily” was be­ing watched closely.

“It’s some­thing we’ll cer­tainly be looking at,” Mr Gehling said.

“It will have to be price com­pet­i­tive but it looks a promis­ing prod­uct to ex­pand our range.”

In the mean­time a hard edged Volk­swa­gen Tiguan shows how a go-faster R ver­sion might look – if it gets the go-ahead along­side the R32 Golf, R36 Pas­sat and R50 Touareg.

Volk­swa­gen said there was no plan for a full-scale Tiguan R, but that had not stopped a body up­grade on the com­pact SUV.

The R-Line model has just gone on sale in Europe with a deep front air dam, fat­ter wheel arches, 19in al­loy wheels, sill ex­ten­sions and a small roof spoiler.

But it will not be com­ing to Aus­tralia. And it does not point to an im­mi­nent R-style tweak for the Tiguan.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we have to take away some of the ex­cite­ment,” Mr Gehling said.

“It’s just the Volk­swa­gen In­di­vid­ual ex­te­rior mod­i­fi­ca­tions. It’s not like the R range of ve­hi­cles.

“We’re not of­fer­ing the R-Line. It is only a cos­metic up­grade, not a per­for­mance up­grade.”

On the way: Volk­swa­gen chair­man Martin Win­terkorn with the Up! con­cept car at Mu­nich in 2007. Volk­swa­gen has an­nounced it will be built in Slo­vakia from 2011.

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