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Volkswagen Up History

The history of the Volkswagen up! city car is a relatively short one, with the production model only debuting at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor and going into production at the end of the year.

However, the Volkswagen up! story goes back much further, with a series of concept cars designed over the previous five years by Volkswagen stylists Walter de’Silva and Klaus Bischoff.  The first of these was unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show and, in contrast to the conventional front-engined and front-wheel drive format of the production Volkswagen up!, the first concept model had a rear-engined, rear-wheel drive layout.  The four-seater cabin had flat-folding, air-inflated seats, and twin monitors on the dashboard for vehicle statistics and multimedia.

A mini MPV version called the Volkswagen space up! was shown in concept for a the Tokyo Motor Show that same year, with Mazda RX-8-esque butterfly doors.  A further electric-powered concept version with roof-mounted solar panels for recharging its batteries was shown at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, called the Volkwagen space up! blue.

It was two years before a further concept model was unveiled.  The zero-emissions 2-door city car, called the Volkswagen e-up!, was shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, powered by a 60kw electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.  A hybrid-powered concept, the Volkswagen up! lite, followed at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The production version of the Volkswagen up! was announced in 2011, and went into production later that year in Bratislava, Slovakia.  The up! won plaudits immediately, grabbing the What Car? Car of the Year and World Car of the Year awards for 2012.  The Volkswagen up! is also sold in certain markets as the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo.