Currently reading: Official: Volkswagen Up axed after 12 years
Production of city car ends this year, making the Volkswagen Polo supermini the firm's new entry point

The Volkswagen Up has been taken off sale in the UK, 12 years after it launched, as the company prepares to end production for good by the end of 2023.

In an official statement supplied to Autocar, the brand said: "Production of the Up and the e-Up at the Volkswagen plant in Bratislava will come to an end in the fourth quarter. Therefore individual configuration of the vehicle (on the UK and German websites) will no longer be possible. Customers can still contact their local Volkswagen retailer for information about pre-configured cars remaining in stock."

The Up first went on sale in 2011 as the successor to the Volkswagen Fox. It was one of the cheapest cars on sale, priced from £8256, although its starting price later increased to more than £15,000.

It has been offered with a variety of powertrains over its 12-year production run. At launch, it could be selected with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine producing either 59bhp or 74bhp. A facelift in 2016 brought more power with the introduction of an 89bhp turbocharged variant. 

Volkswagen e-Up rear quarter tracking

The electric Volkswagen e-Up was introduced in 2014 with an 18.7kWh battery and 93 miles of range, but it was upgraded with a 32.2kWh battery in 2019, which boosted the range to 161 miles. This surpassed newer rivals, such as the Mini Electric and Honda E

The decision to axe the tiny Up comes nine months after the retirement of the hot Volkswagen Up GTI from sale. The GTI arrived in 2018 with 113bhp, a sportier design and a six-speed manual gearbox. 

It was removed from sale in January this year. Volkswagen claimed this was a temporary move, due to demand outstripping supply, but it was never put back on sale. 

The Up was part of the Volkswagen Group’s New Small Family (NSF) vehicle series, along with the Seat Mii (on sale until 2020) and the Skoda Citigo (until 2021).


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Car review

The Volkswagen Up city car isn't revolutionary, it's just quantifiably better than the opposition

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Skoda Citigo front quarter tracking

The Volkswagen Polo is now the smallest car that the Wolfsburg firm offers in the UK. Last year, though, CEO Thomas Schäfer hinted that the Polo could be removed from the line-up in the coming years, due to Euro 7 regulations, eventually being replaced by a small electric offering in the form of the ID 2.

The Up will be more directly replaced by an ultra-compact electric city car known as the Volkswagen ID 1, which is set to arrive in dealerships within the next five years and be priced from less than £17,000.

Opinion: Why 12 years isn't enough for the charming VW Up

Volkswagen Up front quarter tracking 2012

Most cars live out a natural span and disappear when they deserve to, but I really don’t think this applies to the Volkswagen Up. I believe it is dying years too soon – and I have three important reasons for saying so.

First, it still looks great. Timeless, if you like. I reckon if they launched that car today, it’d still appeal strongly in the showroom. Second, I believe the Up is disappearing just as the market needs it. Small, light, economical cars become ever more logical in tough times. What's more, the latest Euro 7 clean air standards are likely to have little or no effect on the future cost and spec of cars like this, which means the Up could probably have lived on into the 2030s.

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Third, and this is personal, I had uncommonly good times in at least four different Up versions – better times than the little car’s meagre power or low initial cost would have led you to expect. I loved the 59bhp and 74bhp 1.0-litre petrol versions (whose torque curves were so near identical you were wise to ignore the pokier one) and the electric e-Up was a hoot, not least for the name. I also put away some surprisingly quick miles in GTi versions.

In particular, I’ll always remember Up for a ritzy launch event in Rome, where the car proved just how perfect it was, zigging to successive luxury hotels. Now that it’s going, to some extent I feel responsible for its demise. After all, if I loved it so much, I had a dozen years to buy one, didn’t I? Only have myself to blame.

Steve Cropley

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Thekrankis 11 October 2023
I suspect VW are simply chasing profits. The UP! Is a cracking little car.
We have a '15 Citigo which is cheap to run, reliable and above all fun.
For city and short journey driving it is brilliant.
I have done a few 300mile round trips with no hassle.
A sad day and like the Fiesta being taken off sale far too early.
artill 10 October 2023

My guess is its average CO2 numbers have doomed it. If VW are trying to hit 95g/km, and have to sell an EV to allow an ICE car to be sold, they are going to want it to be a lot more expensive than an UP. 

As has already been said, all the deisgn costs will have already been paid, so everying they make is going to be profitable (unless they get hit for a few thousand Euro fine for each one they sell).

I fail to see how cars like this going helps anyone. People who cant afford a Polo will either keep their old car, or buy something bigger. Everything bigger will use more fuel and resourses. It adds weight to the theory that the powers that be want less people able to afford to drive

si73 10 October 2023
It is a shame that yet another city car has gone, though they were becoming far from affordable compared to how they launched.