It is a very well known fact that the giant Volkswagen has shied away from building models that built the foundation including the innovative Beetle. The Golf today enjoys a premium status with even the Polo ranked a little high as far as price is concerned.
The company has realized that it needs to reach more customers which is why it is coming up with the Up. It is a unique front-wheel-drive hatchback that is very cleverly priced and positioned beneath its other models including the Gold and Polo
Many people are excited about the company’s new endeavor; however, they seem to forget that this isn’t the very first time that the company is trying to reach a new market. VW has downmarket in the past is well and to refresh those memories given below are some of these models.
Volkswagen Kafer 1200
The Beetle for decades enjoyed numero uno position due to various reasons. Some of these reasons included great design and engine power. Many of the Bug’s versions could reach 80 miles per hour and were powered by around 1.5- and 1.6-liter engines. The 1200 is considered an entry-level Beetle and had a cheaper version also available known as 1200A. Due to this fact the low version was also called “Sparkäfer” as it was a cost cutting Beetle. For low cost people had to do without some qualities, such as the big engine as this verion had a 1.2-liter engine.
This was launched in the year 1975 and was a version of Audi 50 that was developed by Ingolstadt. This mode l was decontented to a great extent. It had a 0.99 liter four-cylinder engine (900 cc) with cardboard door trim. However, it did not have many features such as headrests, passenger side’s external door locks etc. In order to move ahead this car quickly picked up a few more things from Audi 50 killing the latter in a short span of time.
This car was developed in 1975 by VW. It weighed around 1389 pounds and was only 10.8 feet in length which is why it was supposed to be the city’s vehicle. The makers kept the car simple and fitted a 39-hp inline-three in the model. Only a few prototypes of this design were built and had striking resemblance with the second generation Polo.
Chicco could not flood the market but the Gol was launched with a lot of fanfare in 1978. This car was heavily inspired from several models of Audi and VW. The car name comes from the word ‘goal’ that is gol in Portuguese. The car, built mainly for emerging markets like Brazil, had difficulty initially but ended up finding a lot of success at the end of the day. The car had a modern look but a weak Beetle engine that was corrected in the future models.
The Fox uses a nameplate that was already made famous by Audi. Just like its name, this car also had a lot related to other cars as it was a derivative of the famous Gol and was mainly offered on the American market. This car found moderate success but did not give any big boost to the company’s image. In 1984, the company sold the Rabbit “Sparmeister,” specifically for the American market.
Very few people have heard of this car because it never fully went into production and only a few prototypes were unveiled. This car, announced in 1982, was small (around 10.3 feet) and was powered by a 49-hp engine. This one was sought after as people believed it had potential but it could never be checked. Eventually for 1988 Passat, the car’s closed front end was re-interpreted.
This car was announced in the 1990s when organic designs were heavily explored. This car was the company’s former head, Carl H. Hahn’s, pet project. This was a small car that received its power from a 34-hp two-cylinder engine coupled with an 8-hp electric motor. Like most cars in this list this one never fully got to see the light of the day either.
Smart Daimler Prototype
This is a controversial car due to the history attached. When Ferdinand Piëch joined the office he took several bold steps including killing off the Chico. Additionally, he went on to put a hold on the project “Swatch-Car” that was a joint effort between VW and the Swiss company. It is heard that the man saw no value in the car and remarked, “We wouldn’t want to do a Passat watch.” This resulted in the Swiss company taking its idea to Daimler-Benz and resulted in the the Smart.
After doing away with the Swatch car, Piëch’ came up with a new idea that gave birth to Lupo in 1998. This was a 11.6-ft car made from premium material. Additionally, it also had a powerful engine ranging from 49 to 123 hp. This car had several derivatives including the Lupo 3L TDI that could go 100km in 3 liters.
Volkswagen Lupo GTI
This Lupo also deserves to be mentioned on this list. The company achieved economy of scale with this car by using lightweight materials. This car was very quick, agile and attractive with some unique features including bi-xenon headlights.
This is another car from the company that was developed in Brazil and replaced Lupo in 2005 with its launch in Europe. Many consider this car a fail as it lacked novelty and didn’t offer anything new in terms of design of work. This car was recently removed from the company’s European lineup and couldn’t find much success elsewhere either as it would’ve either into other car’s businesses in Latin America.
This car picks up a lot from the famous Lupo series including its name. This is a notch above the Lupo as it has a broader appeal due to its configuration and design. This car has the new and powerful EA211 gasoline engine in three-cylinder configuration; a new turbocharged version is also expected to will follow. However, many have questioned why the company isn’t announcing diesel for this make.
Volkswagen Space Up
Just as the name suggests, this car is based on the model mentioned above but is a little more spacious. Many believe that the company is looking at broadening the Up! Line and this 2007 model is just the beginning. There is a lot more that the company can do with this model including a five-door Up!