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Volkswagen has confirmed the development of a production version of the mini hot hatch Up! GT.
One of the many variations of the Up! concept that was unveiled at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, Volkswagen emphasized that the Up! GT will drive and perform very closely to the original Golf GTI, which Volkswagen enthusiasts were no doubt happy to hear.
Details on the Up! GT are limited but we know that it will be motivated by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed gearbox, producing 110-hp. While the numbers are modest, we’re expect to see a lot of Up! GT city cars darting through city traffic in the future.
There is a definite possibility that Ford’s European Ka microcar could make its way to dealerships in North American in the next few years.
A new second-generation Ka was just launched in Europe in 2009, using either a 68hp 1.2-liter gasoline engine or a 74hp 1.3-liter diesel engine. At just 142.5-inches long, the Ka is roughly the size of a SMART fortwo.
While Ford has never been interested in bringing over the Ka before, the Fiat/Chrysler merger may change all that as the automotive partners plan on bringing a Chrysler-branded version of the Fiat 500 microcar to the U.S. – a move that could happen in as little as 18 months.
Not only would Ford want a piece of the microcar segment, but its Ka is actually based on the Fiat 500 chassis as well.
A big issue in bringing the car over would be pricing and while a Fiat 500 might be able to fetch a price roughly equivalent to a SMART, a Chrysler or Ford vehicle would have to be much closer (if not under) the $10,000 mark.
There is also a possibility, suggests an article in the Detroit Free Press, that both Chrysler and Ford could team up on the manufacturing of both vehicles, having them built in the same assembly plant in order to minimize costs. If that were to happen, the car would most likely be built in Mexico, where both Ford and Chrysler already have plants.
The whole idea does seem far-fetched, especially in a country that loves big cars, but times are changing and Chrysler has made it clear that a version of the Fiat 500 is slated for U.S. roads.
Ford already has plans to bring the European Fiesta to North America, where it will compete in the ever-increasing sub-compact segment.
[Source: The Detroit Free Press]