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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen is reportedly planning to launch two city-sized SUVs to sit below the Tiguan to take advantage of the growing global demand for compact crossovers.

German business paper Handelsblatt reports a micro-SUV based on the new Up! and a sub-compact SUV sharing the underpinnings of the Polo light car are “certain” to reach production, according to unnamed Volkswagen sources.

A Volkswagen spokesman told the paper no decisions on new SUVs had been finalised at this stage, but said the company’s versatile production system made it viable to create numerous vehicles on the same platforms.

Volkswagen tested the compact crossover waters last year when it unveiled the Buggy Up! concept (pictured) at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. The door-less targa-top concept sported robust go-kart styling, striking orange paintwork and a durable, ‘waterproof’ interior designed for outdoor adventures.

The boss of Volkswagen Slovakia – the manufacturer of the Up! hatchback – Albrecht Reimold told Handelsblatt an Up!-based SUV was “certainly an area we must look at”.

Manufacturers around the world are jumping on the sub-compact SUV bandwagon. Cars like the Audi Q3, Mini Countryman and Skoda Yeti will soon be joined by the Opel Mokka, Ford EcoSport, and similar city-friendly SUVs from Hyundai, Jeep and Peugeot, among others.

The small SUV segment has grown more than any other in Australia so far this year, up 52.7 per cent compared with the early months of 2011. In April, the segment accounted for 5.7 per cent of the local market, putting it ahead of the once-dominant large-car segment.




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