Regulations could force Volkswagen to drop gasoline-powered up! city car

The up! could be axed next year, leaving only the e-up! on sale.

Volkswagen announced it will likely stop building the gasoline-powered variant of the up! city car it sells in Europe (and in other global markets) in the coming years. It will pare down the line-up to only the battery-powered model.

Market demand isn't the driving force here; the e-up! (pictured) is expensive, and it sells in relatively small numbers. However, the European Union has plans to regulate cars like the up! out of the market. It won't comply with looming regulations, according to Volkswagen, and making its three-cylinder engine compliant would raise its price to a level consumers won't accept.

"The big question mark is: if the legal system is pursuing and implementing the legal regulations they have just confirmed, there is not a single business case for the cars the size of the up! - it's just not possible," explained Volkswagen's head of sales and marketing, Jurgen Stackmann, in an interview with British website Car Buyer.

The publication adds the e-up! will probably receive a series of updates to remain competitive, and to fill the gap left by the gasoline-powered versions. As of writing, it offers 99 miles of range, and it's priced at 23,570 euros (about $26,700). To add context, the entry-level up! starts at 10,750 euros (roughly $12,200); customers could buy two and still spend less than on the electric model. The Polo, the Golf, the T-Cross, the T-Roc, the Golf, and the Golf Sportsvan all cost less than Volkswagen's smallest battery-powered model. The now-defunct Beetle Cabriolet did, too.

Volkswagen hasn't revealed how long the gasoline-powered up! has to live. The model made its debut in 2011, and Car Buyer speculates it could get axed in 2020. The Skoda Citigo and the SEAT Mii -- which are both re-badged variants of the up! -- will either go electric as well, or retire.

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