VW Up becomes a tiny footnote in the Germans' history books

VW Up becomes a tiny footnote in the Germans' history books

Unveiled to great fanfare in 2011 by Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn at the Frankfurt motor show, the VW Up has passed on to the great car graveyard.

Too small to ever pass federal regulation muster on American roads, the Up — which eventually spawned the Up GTI in Europe and even an E-Up — has been severed from the brand’s lineup, leaving the Polo as the smallest model in the Germans’ lineup, according to Autocar.

The diminutive, funny-faced Up was originally part of the Volkswagen Group’s New Small Family (NSF) vehicle series, which was offered though its history with a variety of power choices. Back at launch, it could be selected with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder petrol engine producing either 59 or 74 horsepower. A facelift in 2016 brought more power with the introduction of a turbocharged variant producing 89 horses. 

Though the years, the car was also marketed as the “Take Up” and “Move Up” (but never as the “Throw Up”). It was voted “World Car of the Year” in 2012.

As the successor to the Fox, the Up (which some times appeared as the Up!) was low-cost at the time it was introduced, selling for about $10,000 in the UK. The decision to axe the tiny Up comes after the retirement of the Up GTI, which had arrived in 2018 with 113 horsepower, a sportier design and a six-speed manual gearbox. It was removed from sale in January this year. Volkswagen claimed that this was a temporary move, but it was never put back on sale. 

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There are no immediate successors in line for the Up, although it may be followed by an ultra-compact electric city car known as the Volkswagen ID 1, which is set to arrive in dealerships within the next five years.