It’s often the case that a radical concept car will be developed for a major car show only to be put away in storage never to be heard of or seen again once the show’s over. Fortunately for fans of the 2007 up! concept, Volkswagen won’t be mothballing its new baby. Instead it plans to launch a new family of compact vehicles all based around the original concept.

The new compact vehicles are expected to replace the current Lupo hatch (the two middle letters of the name ‘Lupo’ spell ‘up’ – the same naming practice VW used with the ‘Scirocco’ and ‘Iroc’ concept), and there will be both three and five-door variants for the VW, Skoda and Seat brands.

Some rumored models include a sporty cabrio, a five-door MPV, and possible Audi version, all previewed here in these latest computer generated renderings. There’s also a chance that VW may build an SUV model, as well as a petrol-electric hybrid version and all-electric model. Furthermore, there are expected to be both premium and low cost versions, with the latter reserved for emerging markets.

Production of the new cars took a step closer to reality today with the announcement that the first vehicles, three and five-door variants for VW, Skoda and Seat, will be built at VW’s Bratislava plant in Slovakia from 2011 onwards.

They will be offered with a front engine, FWD configuration only. The original up! concept car featured a rear-mounted engine spinning the rear axle but this option was ruled out due to cost. Placing the engine in the front will allow them to share more components with other VW models but interior space will be less than the rear engine option.

Power should come from a range of compact three and four-cylinder engines, both naturally-aspirated and forced-induction, and both petrol and diesel.