Saturday 24 July 2010

Volkswagen to resurrect Lupo name-plate

Volkswagen’s new city car, internally known as ‘Up’, will be sold as the Lupo. The Lupo city-car will also be available as an Audi, Seat and Skoda, by 2015 as part of Volkswagens go-getting target to take global market leadership by 2018.

With the Brazilian-built Fox to be withdrawn, the newcomer will be the entry-level car in Volkswagens line-up when it reaches the UK in 2012. It will be manufactured in Slovakia and is the first model in an extended range of modern small cars, which Volkswagen officials call the New Small Family (NSF).

Initially created with a space-saving rear-engined/rear-wheel drive design, the new car has been comprehensively reworked during its three-year development procedure. Financial concerns have required the platform to be switched to front-engined, front-wheel drive that VW says will allow it to use existing engine and gearbox combinations without any major penalty in overall packaging.

The new Lupo will elongate to no longer than 3,445mm in length, 1,628mm in width and 1,495mm in height; approximately 525mm shorter, 54mm narrower but 33mm taller than the Polo 3dr.

In the VW line-up, the Lupo will be placed above cheap offerings like the Nissan Pixo, Suzuki Alto & KIA Picanto but beneath Polo in order to draw both first-time car buyers and those looking for a second car. The latest hint suggests that the entry-level Lupo will have a sticker price of £8,200 (€9,700) in the UK, thus competing directly with the Fiat 500, Citroën C1, Ford KA, Peugeot 107, Renault Twingo, and the Toyota Aygo.

Keeping with the newcomers ‘back to basics’ theme, the Lupo is intended to be sold with a restricted range of engines during the early sales stage. The Lupo will be released throughout Europe in Summer 2011 (as a 2012 MY) using two engines; a 65bhp naturally aspirated 1.0 litre 3 cylinder petrol engine and a 1.2 TDi CR 75bhp 4 cylinder engine, with the latter potentially offering in excess of 80mpg and emitting less than 80g/km in Bluemotion variant.

The 5dr Lupo will launch in Spring 2012, with an all-new 85bhp turbocharged 1.0 litre TSI 4 cylinder petrol engine. In the pipeline is an electric variant, dubbed E-Up that’s being built with Audi and is expected to reach European dealerships by Winter 2012, with U.S sales predicted in early 2013. A shooting-brake model, similar to that of the Up Lite concept is likely to be sold.

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