VW City Expert
01 August 2007 03:31
Volkswagen has just released details of a concept car that should take it back to its ‘people’s car’ roots. Dubbed City Expert, it will be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
VW will also show the production Tiguan and six new Bluemotion models, but the big news is this rear-engined city car. CAR first reported VW’s plans for the car back in our May issue. Whilst the City Expert will now have a water-cooled engine as opposed to air, it is closer in concept to the original Beetle than the modern namesake could ever hope to be. The Bug was the car that put VW on the map and now the plan is to produce an ultra-cheap car for sales around the globe. Renault already sells the Dacia Logan, built from previous-generation Clio parts and with a starting price of just €6400 (about £4300). Indian manufacturer Tata is also planning a ‘one-lakh’ car to sell in its domestic market for around £1400. VW’s car will cost around £3500 in developing markets, whilst Europe's version will cost around £5000. The City Expert is claimed to be ‘sensationally flexible’ because it will be available in three different bodystyles for varying markets. We’ll have a three-door hatch, India a five-door, and China will get a four-door saloon. Although the engine is in the back, and steeply angled for more boot room, the battery, air-con unit and radiator are in the nose: both ends have a luggage compartment. Power steering isn’t expected to be available – it’s not needed due to the lack of weight over the front wheels – but ESP should be standard in Europe. Such simplicity should cut the build time of the car to an industry-leading 12 hours. Engines will vary depending on the market but Europe should get a mix of two and three-cylinder models, whilst a one-cylinder car is under consideration for developing markets. A twin-cylinder car should instantly be £650 cheaper for VW to make, sources claim. Supplier Bosch reckons that sub-£4900 cars will account for 13 percent of the global car market by 2010 – around 10 million cars per year.