Volkswagen up!load: The Small Car Is Very Large Indeed!

Over the years, an interesting fad has developed in trying to stuff as many people as possible into whatever little Volkswagen is currently on offer. What started as a spontaneous gag at an enthusiast car meet in Australia in the 1950s has become a phenomenon that spans generations. Seventeen Beetle fans squeezed themselves into the iconic car back then, and many attempts have been made since then, even in the successor New Beetle.

Well now there’s a new small kid in town, the up! And Volkswagen wanted to make this attempt a little more official. Sixteen of its UK Communications employees took it upon themselves to squeeze into the little hatch, enough to be able to close all the doors fully. So fifteen women and one man filled the hatch, back seat, front seat, dash, and even footwells of one of the market’s smallest four-seaters.

Volkswagen is calling this an unofficial world record, but then it would be, as they are the only ones with access to the car. Starting December 2, the car will go on sale, and we’ll see how crafty VW’s customers are.

See press release below.

Wolfsburg, 21 October 2011 – The up!, the smallest new Volkswagen, is a very spacious car. To prove this thesis, employees at Volkswagen Communications made an attempt at an unofficial world record. The results: not only is it possible for four people to sit comfortably in the new up! in normal use – if one really tries hard, many more people can fit into the car: 15 women and one man squeezed themselves into its interior spaces. It was not all that comfortable any more, we must admit!

Two in the boot, one on the dashboard, seven on the rear bench, four on the front seats, two in the footwells – then the boot lid and doors were shut, and the windows were closed. A world record! 16 people in the new up!. In this record attempt, the goal was not so much comfort as it was to have a lot of fun. And that is why such record attempts have a long tradition: back in the 1950s it was extremely popular to cram as many people as possible into a telephone booth – which in those days was still a very easy to find object. But what is a telephone booth compared to a VW Beetle? At a car meet in Australia, 17 Beetle friends spontaneously decided to squeeze into this Volkswagen icon. In 2010, 20 people – who obviously had extremely high levels of pain tolerance – raised the bar with a record in Wilmore, Kentucky (USA), which landed them in the Guinness World Records. Naturally, attempts were also made in the successor model. In January 2001, a record 27 students from the USA squeezed into a New Beetle.

And now, in 2011, we have the up! – one for all! Well, it was good for at least 16 on our first try. At 3.54 metres long and 1.64 metres wide, the up! is one of the smallest four-seat cars. After its market launch on 2 December 2011, customers can set their own records.