Having a vehicle wear the badge of more than one brand is a fairly common occurrence. Although it happens more with vans than cars, it makes sense from a development and build perspective in terms of cost efficiencies and can instantly fill a vacant segment in a manufacturer’s range.
It’s an even cleverer plan when you are in an extended family of brands, such as Volkswagen Group.
But what happens when you offer the ‘same’ vehicle in the small car segment, where the customer is likely to be looking for the right car at the right price and is unlikely to feel allegiance to a brand? To get an idea of how a customer would approach the choice between the VW Up and its main, own-grown competitors, the Seat Mii and Škoda Citigo, I started my journey as most shoppers do today, on the internet.
The CAP-powered comparator on the Honda website allowed a comprehensive review with an example of each car in the same price bracket.
Initially, it’s not a happy tale for the Up. It is more expensive than the equivalent Citigo MPI SE and while efficiency figures and CO2 emissions are the same thanks to the shared engine, it has a knock-on effect in tax liability terms. A 20% taxpayer would pay £272 annually for the Up, but £256 for the Škoda. Service, maintenance and repair costs are also less over three years/60,000 miles at £1,623 v £1,681.
But over the same period, the Up will claw this back with an RV £275 higher than the Škoda, leaving a buyer in pocket to the tune of £169 when the above elements are taken into account. Your average punter has to be aware of this.
Apart from the financial considerations, another draw may be the Up’s spec sheet, which includes body-coloured bumpers, range-adjustable headlights, variable boot floor, chrome door handles on the inside, traction control, front curtain airbags and hill hold control.
A canny VW salesperson will have much at their fingertips to entice a customer to the Up.
What’s been said about the VW Up
If it were my money on the dotted line, having driven both, I’d find it difficult to walk past the Škoda forecourt, despite preferring the Up’s styling and badge. The Škoda just makes better value sense.