We all loved the Volkswagen Up! (emphasis theirs). It was a car that almost deserved to have silly punctuation in its name, it was that good a thing in a dull part of the market.
But, like buyers, many reviewers were left flabbergasted by the lack of an automatic transmission option in Australia. There was a five-speed semi-automatic option for the car in Europe, but it wasn’t deemed suitable at the time when the VW Up! was on sale locally.
Volkswagen Australia managing director Michael Bartsch is like all of us here at CarAdvice – a sympathiser for the tiny little VW hatchback. So much so, that he admits he wants to play in that segment again.
“Without digging a hole for myself, yes, we’re always looking at what we can do in that segment. The Up! was a fantastic car,” he said.
“I’ve driven the Up! in Europe, and I love it. It’s fantastic. I really think there’s an opportunity for a car like that. I live in the middle of the CBD in Sydney, and on Saturdays and Sundays I wish I had a car the size of the Up!,” he said.
But liking the car and coming up with a solution to getting an automatic version of it are two very different questions to answer.
“What we want is a manual and an automatic Up!,” Bartsch said before saying that he didn’t know if there was a new gearbox in the works for the city car.
“That’s a little bit too specific,” he said. “But we’ve made it clear that in that segment we need an automatic transmission, or whatever we call it these days – DSG, or whatever the case may be – but we definitely need it. It’s an urban vehicle, a city vehicle: you need an automatic transmission.”
It seems highly unlikely that a new automatic transmission would be added to the Up! at this point of its life-cycle: the car was launched internationally back in 2011, which means it would be close to the end of its current run.
Perhaps the next-generation Up! could be the one we get, then… Stay tuned.