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VW sticks it Up auto

Pricing Up: Volkswagen’s new city car will be launched here in late September from under $15,000.

Upcoming VW Up city runabout to be manual-only in Australia as AGS gets rejected

9 Jul 2012

VOLKSWAGEN’S long-awaited Up baby car will be a manual-only affair, at least initially, with the local division deciding against launching in Australia with the automated gearbox dubbed AGS.

To be released nationally in late September prior to appearing in dealerships later in October, the four-seat city runabout is expected to carry a sub-$15,000 price tag for the entry-level three-door hatch.

A better-equipped five-door variant will also surface at the same time, as Volkswagen fills the void below the cheapest Polo available in Australia, the $16,990 Trendline five-door manual.

Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Anke Koeckler said it was important to offer the right sort of car for Australia and it was decided that the ASG auto was not up to local consumer expectations.

“I can confirm that it will be under $15,000 – and that’s great for a new Volkswagen,” she said.

“But it will be manual only. Why? We have taken (the media’s feedback) on board, and decided against taking the ASG.

“It was not an easy decision (because) our research shows that many Australians prefer having an automatic transmission in this end of the market.”

3 center imageEarlier this year, Volkswagen engineering boss Dr Ulrich Hackenberg told GoAuto that Volkswagen has been striving to develop an effective dual-clutch transmission for the Up, but has faced numerous difficulties packaging the unit in such a small vehicle.

While a solution is thought to be in the pipeline, it will probably not appear until the second-generation Up appears later this decade.

The ‘SQ100’ series ASG is based on the compact MQ100 five-speed manual gearbox that will now be the only transmission offered in the Up and is produced by Skoda.

The Czech brand’s version of the VW Group sub-B baby – called the Citigo – will probably arrive here in the middle of 2013.

Ms Koeckler believes the Up will be cheap enough to attract used car buyers who may otherwise choose a second-hand light car.

“We think it will appeal to people who might buy a used Polo or something like that,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Koeckler has confirmed that VW will bring the next-generation Golf wagon to Australia as the company seeks to build on the sales of the existing model, which was released here in February 2010.

However, with the seventh-generation version still under wraps and not expected to be unveiled until well after the hatchback version surfaces at the Paris Motor Show in September, the new wagon is not expected here until at least 2014.

“The Golf wagon will remain as the package that it currently is into next year, and then we will be looking at its successor,” Ms Koeckler said.

“And there will be a successor here for the Australian market – 100 per cent certain. I’ve seen it already, and the new car will be a fabulous car.”

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