Image: Martin Winterkorn and UP!
Bernd Kammerer  /  AP
VW CEO, Martin Winterkorn, presents the new concept car "UP!" at a preview event prior to the start of the International Auto Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday.
updated 9/10/2007 7:23:39 PM ET 2007-09-10T23:23:39

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest car maker, is going UP!

At an invitation-only preview Monday before two days of official press previews for the 62nd International Auto Show, the Wolfsburg-based car maker showed off its new UP! super-compact mini, a four-seat, three-cylinder car that recalls the old days of the economical, inexpensive and wildly popular Beetle.

CEO Martin Winterkorn said the car, which could be on the market by the end of the decade, is aimed squarely at buyers looking for an inexpensive, fuel-efficient car for city driving.

To that end, the UP! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the name) will retail for about 6,000 euros ($8,275) for the base model, with options increasing the price tag. Though it lacks the rounded edges of the Beetle, its length is similar, at about 11.5 feet.

“The car has what it takes to be a trend setter,” Winterkorn said, adding it may form the base of a new round of small cars being developed by the company, whose other brands include the upscale Audi, Skoda, Seat and the stratospherically priced speedsters hand-built by Lamborghini.

He said the new city car will also be sold under the aegis of the Skoda and Seat brands with a chic, trendy version aimed at western European buyers and a more traditional, less fancy version aimed for developing markets.

As for Volkswagen’s other units, he showed off the new Audi A4 and a new Fabia Kombi from Skoda.

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