Bulk up! Volkswagen's Smallest Heftier Than Forebears

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Yesterday, we talked a little about Volkswagen’s latest small car, the up! We walked down memory lane, and compared the 2012 up! with the Polo of 1975. The up! is nearly as short as the Polo of ancient times (3.54 meters). The heftier bumpers don’t leave a car designer much choice. And speaking of heft: We wondered how the up! is doing in the weight department.

When the Polo was launched in 1975, it weighed in at 685 kg (1,510 lbs) – with four guys, you could solve parking problems manually. We didn’t have much entertainment in those years, and sometimes carried a Polo to spots that were a bit inaccessible on wheels, like up a flight of stairs. This was a source of a lot of fun, especially when viewed from a beer garden across the street.

Volkswagen did not disclose the curb weight of the new up!, so we called up! Herr Schröder in Wolfsburg on Monday morning and asked.

“It’s below 1,000 kilo.”

“Can we have this with a little more precision?”

“There is a 9 in front.”

“Is that because it’s a secret, or because you don’t know yet?”

“It’s a secret.”

“I see.”

“If you guess around 950 kilo, you probably won’t make a mistake.”


Then we both lamented the fact that it’s pretty much impossible to make a real light car anymore, given all the junk the car is required to drag around these days, and bid each other a wonderful week.

Now, if the powers that be are real serious about saving gas, then they should allow cars to lose weight. Less weight, less filling!

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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3 of 34 comments
  • Carlisimo Carlisimo on Aug 22, 2011

    Do you actually want an original Polo? Who would buy that, even if it were legal?

    • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Aug 22, 2011

      Don't even bother man. Internet car bloggers TALK about the romance of riding around in smelly tin cans, but for "whatever reason" drive the drab machines they complain about. It's bogus. This looks good though. Aside from the ridiculously inefficient engine.

  • SherbornSean SherbornSean on Aug 22, 2011

    I heard that Ralph lauren collects cars...

  • Lou_BC While we discuss Chinese cars, Chinese politics, and Chinese global desires, I'm looking at TTAC and Google display advertising for Chinese tires. They have nukes aimed at us but their money and products are acceptable to consumers and business?
  • TheTireWhisperer And a thankful Memorial day to all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Take some time today to realize that virtually zero soldiers had died defending your border.
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  • Pig_Iron 💝