Volkswagen returns to its roots today, 31 August, by launching a new 'people's car,' the Lupo.
Earlier this summer, VW was making headlines by buying Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Lamborghini. Now it has acted at the other end of the market with its new entry-level model, below the Polo.
Volkswagen needed the Lupo 'because the whole segment of small cars has grown up,' said spokesman Jens Bobsien.
The Lupo is the same size as the original Polo, launched two decades ago, but the Polo has expanded with its redesigns. The Lupo has a 2330mm wheelbase and 3530mm overall length, compared with 3720mm length for the Polo.
'Our target is to offer a small car with the safety and equipment of larger models,' he said.
The Lupo shares the group's A0/00 platform with the Seat Arosa, introduced a year ago. The Lupo is built at Wolfsburg, where the Arosa started. Last spring, the Arosa was transferred to Martorell, Spain.
Volkswagen plans to sell 60,000 Lupos in the next four months. For the year, the smaller Seat network plans to sell 42,000 Arosas.
The Lupo 'uses front-end structures of the Polo, and shares the Arosa floorpan and main body structures,' said Bobsien. 'It also has body panels in common with the Arosa, including doors and roof.'
By sharing most of the Arosa's structure and body parts, development time of the Lupo was cut to just 15 months. But the Lupo's production processes are more sophisticated than the Arosa's. In Wolfsburg, VW uses more laser welding. Also, the Lupo body is fully galvanized. Lupo has a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.
Twin airbags are standard. Side airbags, ABS and a navigation system will be options. The Lupo comes with three engines: Two light-alloy gasoline engines of 1.0- and 1.4-liters, and a diesel.
Next year, Volkswagen will offer a three-cylinder, 1.4-liter turbodiesel which will meet Germany's 3.0-liter/100km efficiency target.