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08 February 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Official new Polo sedan sketches reveal Jetta-inspired looks

Official Volkswagen Design sketches of the newest Polo sedan destined for international markets show a Jetta-inspired appearance. In particular, the four-door notchback adopts a ‘face’ which bears a striking resemblance to the larger saloon which is sold in the US. The Polo sedan will be sold in Russia and other selected territories later in 2020 and will replace the model first introduced in 2010.

Although the new Polo sedan has updated looks, it is still based on the older Volkswagen Group ‘PQ35’ platform, and not the newest ‘MQB’ chassis of the sixth-generation Polo and its Virtus saloon sister. The Russian-market Polo sedan will be a sibling to the latest Skoda Rapid, the two cars having a similar relationship in other markets: the Indian version of the Skoda is itself a re-engineered Volkswagen Vento (sold as the Polo sedan in some countries), which is essentially a fifth-generation Polo saloon. Still with us?

The Volkswagen Design sketches show a strong ‘face’, with headlamps that merge into the front grille, and a rear end with evokes the Passat. And while it has the appearance of a traditional saloon, if the car is based on its Czech stablemate, it will actually be a five-door ‘liftback’. The exterior silhouette may point to its older origins, but the interior is totally new, and will include a central touchscreen as well as digital instruments. There will also be around 550 litres of luggage space and a choice of 88bhp and 108bhp 1.6-litre MPI, and 123bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engines, paired with either five and six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes.

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07 February 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport India unveils new 2020 Race Polo

Volkswagen Motorsport India is celebrating 10 years of its one-make racing success in 2020 with the return of its competition Polo. The Polo burst onto India’s motorsport scene with the Volkswagen Polo Cup back in 2010 and at the Auto Expo 2020 event in New Delhi, Volkswagen India took the wraps off the newest version of its race Polo. The new racer will power onto circuits later this year, and replace the Ameo Cup.

Showcasing TSI technology, Volkswagen Motorsport India’s 2020 Race Polo is powered by a version of the fifth-generation Polo GTI’s 1.8-litre petrol engine delivering 210bhp and 236lb ft (320Nm) of torque, with a push-to-pass option which unleashes an extra 20bhp. Mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox and limited slip differential, the new Race Polo – which is based on the fifth-generation car, still the most current model in India – also features an electronic shift actuator for speedy gear changes and adheres to international standards of motorsport safety.

Sirish Vissa, head of Volkswagen Motorsport said: ‘The Polo continues to be the most loved hatchback among Indian customers. We are thrilled to bring the race version of the Polo back to the Indian racing circuit, enabling our Indian drivers to experience this powerful hatch. As a brand, we relentlessly make efforts towards providing the best of technologies to our Indian drivers.’

‘Fun-to-drive experience’
Unveiled alongside the all-electric ID Crozz, Steffen Knapp, director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars said: ‘We, at Volkswagen, take immense pride in showcasing our best technology to the Indian customers through the ID Crozz and Race Polo. The two are symbols of Volkswagen’s ground breaking and innovative technologies that continue to offer Volkswagen’s core DNA of safety, build quality and fun-to-drive experience.’

The 2020 Volkswagen India one-make Polo series has already had its driver selection process, with over 1,300 applications for the 11th edition of the championship. A series of tests including assessments for aptitude, driving skills (you can hire the best driver from Safe driver Dubai here), and fitness took place in January. ‘It is a proud moment for us to mention that with a decade’s presence in India, Volkswagen continues to be the only OEM directly involved in motorsport. With the eleventh edition of this championship, Volkswagen would like to reiterate its continued commitment in promoting motorsport in India,’ Vissa noted.

Ten years of success
The Volkswagen Polo Cup India was launched in 2010, and featured 1.6-litre, diesel-powered Polo racers. In 2012 the championship switched to TSI petrol power and changed its name to the Volkswagen Polo R Cup India. DSG gearboxes were also introduced. The Polo’s saloon sister, the Vento was tested for the first in the Indian Touring Cars (ITC) Championship, and the one-make baton was passed to the Vento in 2015. The Volkswagen Vento Cup India bowed out to the Ameo Cup in 2017, which used racing versions of India’s Polo-based sub-compact saloon, the Ameo.

[Images: Volkswagen India]

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06 February 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo begins 2020 in the UK’s top ten most popular cars chart

The latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that the Volkswagen Polo was the ninth most popular car in the UK during January 2020. A total of 2,336 Polos found new homes in the first month of the year, which also means the long-standing model is also ninth in the year-to-date top ten chart.

The Ford Fiesta was the clear leader with 6,087 registrations, ahead of its larger relative, the Ford Focus, in second place with 5,287 units. The Nissan Qashqai rounded out the top three with 4,608 registrations. The Volkswagen Golf’s 4,027 units put it in fifth place. Soon to usher in a new generation, the Vauxhall Corsa took fourth place with 4,373 registrations.

As a whole, UK registrations fell 7.3 per cent in January to 149,279 units, but demand for battery electric cars enjoyed a year-on-year rise of 2,720 units. Plug-in and ‘self-charging’ hybrids also enjoyed a peak in demand. The UK’s top ten most popular new cars during January 2020 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 6,087 (6,087, 1st)
2 Ford Focus: 5,287 (5,287, 2nd)
3 Nissan Qashqai: 4,608 (4,608, 3rd)
4 Vauxhall Corsa: 4,373 (4,373, 4th)
5 Volkswagen Golf: 4,027 (4,027, 5th)
6 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,214 (3,214, 6th)
7 Kia Sportage: 2,457 (2,457, 7th)
8 BMW 3 Series: 2,242 (2,242, 8th)
9 Volkswagen Polo: 2,336 (2,336, 9th)
10 Vauxhall Grandland X: 2,261 (2,261, 10th)

Across Europe, a total of 20,037 Polos were registered according to Jato Dynamics, making it the fifth most popular car across the continent. The Golf was topped the popularity stakes with 26,303 registrations. Volkswagen was the most popular brand across Europe with 133,558 registrations, and the Polo-based T-Cross SUV’s 12,880 units saw it declared top market share winner.

2018 Volkswagen Polo Vivo

Polo Vivo is the South African chart-topper
Seemingly never putting a tyre wrong, the Polo Vivo once again topped the new car registrations charts in South Africa, with 2,811 new cars on driveways. The latest National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) figures show that the sixth-generation Polo was in second place once more with 1,761 units sold, with 7,959 exported from Volkswagen South Africa’s Uitenhage factory. The Polo-based T-Cross registered 764 units, and 503 fifth-generation Polo Sedans were registered.

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02 February 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen South Africa exports its 200,000th sixth-generation Polo

Volkswagen South Africa’s Uitenhage factory has produced its 200,000th example of the current Polo for export, following production of its 200,000th sixth-generation Polo in September 2019. The landmark export car rolled off the production line on 31 January.

The plant has manufactured over one million cars for export since 1994, and has enjoyed a tradition of exporting Polos to all right-hand drive markets, also supplementing demand for left-hand drive models. Total exports from Uitenhage now number a total of 1,098,960 vehicles.

The milestone follows a year of records for Volkswagen South Africa. In 2019 it manufactured a total of 161,954 vehicles, surpassing its previous record of 137,758 in 2011. More impressively, Volkswagen South Africa ended the year with a 23.4 per cent share of the passenger car market.

‘As a company we had many reasons to be proud in 2019, and this milestone sets the tone for another strong year ahead,’ said Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa chairman and managing director. ‘We intend to build on our strong performance in 2020, both in the local and export markets, and we remain committed to delivering excellence to both our customers and the larger community.’

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28 January 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Solberg and Polo GTI R5 slide into impressive Rallye Monte-Carlo debut

Norwegian up-and-coming rally star Oliver Solberg took on the 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Polo GTI R5 and although his participation was just to gain experience during his first tarmac event, the son of rallying and rallycross ace Petter Solberg posted hugely impressive times in his Monster Energy-backed Volkswagen.

The 18-year-old is a seasoned Polo GTI R5 helmsman, having contested numerous European Rally Championship events last season. Along with co-driver Aaron Johnston, Solberg took a hat-trick of titles in 2019 (Latvia Rally champion, the Baltic Rally Trophy and an Estonian class win) aboard the Polo GTI R5. The pair also took on Wales Rally GB, their first World Rally Championship (WRC) event.

A measured approach
For the 189-mile Monte test (23-26 January), a measured approach was the order of the day. Safe tyre choices and sensible lines translated into gained knowledge and experience, but there were still respectable pace. The Monster Energy Polo posted a third fastest R5 class time on the second run at the Cubans – Venterol test, but later clipped a kerb with the left-rear wheel, the ever-eager Solberg revelling in his and Johnston’s first running of the legendary event. It was one of the event’s lessons given to the young driver.

‘Even when I hit the kerb, at literally walking speed, I learned so much. I used the handbrake to rotate the car, but on the ice it slid too far. The wheel hit the kerb at a really low speed, but at the wrong angle. We broke a bolt in the suspension and had to stop and make the repair ourselves. I always said I wasn’t coming here for the race, I was coming here to learn and I have learned so much!’ As well as the knowledge the duo took away, they finished 16th in the WRC2 class and 25th overall.

A particular highlight was the stage over the infamous Col de Turini. ‘Like every rally fan, for my whole life I watched cars coming over this incredible mountain road and to be there, to drive through that atmosphere with so many fans was just unbelievable. I’ll never forget it.’

‘Just incredible’
The Norwegian superstar-in-waiting really enjoyed his first Monte, which took place in a range of ever-changing weather conditions. ‘Everything everybody told me about the Monte was true. It is such a difficult rally. So difficult! Everything we did on this event was new. I’ve never competed on tarmac before, everything we had done in the previous years had been getting ready for gravel rallies – which are the ones we will be doing most. We had a test before this event, but when we came to these conditions it was just incredible.

‘Everybody said we would be on the wrong tyres for a lot of the time and this was exactly how it was. We were on the ice tyres for a long time on Saturday morning, doing these huge slides as the studs have no grip on the dry asphalt. All the time I was thinking: “Is this right?” And then you come to the full ice and snow and the tyre is perfect. Then you think: “Yes! This is right!”

‘It was a real compromise of everything, but you have to come here to learn that and if you go to the ditch on the first day then you learn nothing. Sometimes I was maybe wanting to push a little bit harder, but I knew there was too much at risk. The problem is, I can’t wait another 12 months to come back – I want to go and do it all again now.’

Solberg Junior will pilot the Polo GTI R5 on more rallies during 2020, but will also slip behind the wheel of a works Škoda Motorsport-supported Fabia Rally2 evo for three of the season’s rounds. The Norwegian’s Fabia-ulous WRC assault starts at Rally Sweden on 13 February. ‘We will still drive the Polo on some rounds,’ said Solberg, who made his WRC debut at Wales Rally GB in October 2019. ‘The main thing for me now is to try to make experience on as many WRC rounds as possible this year.’

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