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09 January 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo rounds off 2018 as the second most popular car in the UK

The Volkswagen Polo scored its highest most recent position in the UK’s most popular cars list in December 2018, jumping to second place with a total of 4,928 examples finding new homes. That’s a stark contrast to the first three months of the year when the Polo didn’t appear in the list at all, due to the changeover of the fifth-generation model to the sixth.

It’s all the more impressive when it comes to the final year standings: with 45,149 Polos moving off the forecourts, the small VW was the sixth most popular nameplate in the UK during 2018. That’s one place higher than in 2017, when, with 47,855 units registered, the Volkswagen supermini was the UK’s seventh most popular car. And one more thing to take note of is the fact that the Polo outsold all versions of the supposedly more premium and design-led Mini, proving that quiet style, high quality and a wide range with models for most budgets are still valid selling points for a good deal of drivers.

The Polo’s higher 2018 achievement with a lower number of units hints at the UK market as a whole. In general, the market fell by 6.8 per cent to 2,367,147 units after a turbulent 12 months. Demand for superminis and small cars also fell by 2.5 per cent, but along with ‘lower medium’ cars, still accounted for 58.7 per cent of the market.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) December 2018 figures record the Ford Fiesta as the most popular car for another year, with 95,892 cars registered, a massive 31,063 more than the runner-up Volkswagen Golf. With a total of 5,719 units, the small Ford once again topped the chart in December, while 4,224 Golf registrations saw the evergreen VW drop to number six. The Vauxhall Corsa rounded out the top three in the year-to-date list, with 52,915 registrations.

The UK’s top 10 most popular cars during December 2018 and the final year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 5,719 (95,892, 1st)
2 Volkswagen Polo: 4,928 (45,149, 6th)
3 Mini: 4,650 (44,904, 7th)
4 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 4,284 (43,257, 8th)
5 Vauxhall Corsa: 4,264 (52,915, 3rd)
6 Volkswagen Golf: 4,224 (64,829, 2nd)
7 Ford Focus: 3,919 (50,492, 5th)
8 Vauxhall Astra: 3,677
9 Ford Kuga: 2,646 (40,398, 9th)
10 Nissan Qashqai: 2,609 (50,546, 4th)

(The UK’s 2018 year-to-date top ten most popular car absent from December’s registration figures was the tenth-placed Kia Sportage with 35,567 registrations.)

Popular Polos
In December 2018, the sixth-generation Polo was once again the most popular car in South Africa with 2,051 cars registered With 1,771 units at new homes, the fifth-generation Polo-based Polo Vivo was, again, not for the first time, runner-up to both its newer and bigger brother.

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18 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Johan Kristoffersson to drive Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at 2019 Rally Sweden

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Johan Kristoffersson

Following Baumschlager Rallye & Racing’s (BRR) customer debut of the new Polo GTI R5 on the Prague Rally Sprint, another two teams have now received their cars. And one of them will be very familiar… World Rallycross Champion and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R driver Johan Kristoffersson will pilot the Kristoffersson Motorsport GTI R5 in the WRC 2 class at Rally Sweden from 14-17 February 2019.

A special delivery just in time for Christmas, Kristoffersson Motorsport’s Arvika workshops have received Polo GTI R5 number eight from the first batch of 15 cars. It will run the 270bhp machine under the Volkswagen Dealer Team Bauhaus banner. Johan Kristoffersson’s 2019 start will be his third time tackling the Swedish event. With news that the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden world rallycross team will be ‘paused’ and not contest the 2019 series, the two-time champion will also be lining up for the start of the SM Sprint in Sundsvall on 1 February.

‘Ever since Volkswagen declared that it would be possible to get a Polo GTI R5, it has been legitimate in our planning. It is in line with what VW does. There is a lot of interest in rallying among people, the dealership and our other partners,’ declared team manager Tommy Kristoffersson. ‘We have no definite programme yet, but are waiting to see how John’s international commitments look before 2019, but the rally initiative is rooted in our heavy partners, Volkswagen and Bauhaus,’ he continued.

‘Amazing and unique’
‘We have worked in rallycross, circuit racing and now rallying, which becomes a new part of the Kristoffersson Motorsport brand. It is amazing and unique to work with the same manufacturer and Johan in three different disciplines. Johan, is also a genuine VW product since the beginning of his career. Everyone in the workshop is enthusiastic. Rally is close to the hearts of several of our mechanics,’ said Kristoffersson.

A second Polo GTI R5 is expected to arrive with the team in 2019 to further inspire the team, and the pair of cars will be out hunting for wins, even when Johan Kristoffersson isn’t around.

‘Great interest’
Sten Forsberg, Head of Volkswagen Sweden, also focuses on the positives with the new car and its Swedish team: ‘Following the success of Polo in rallycross and Golf in circuit racing, VW Motorsport has now built the Polo GTI R5 which has attracted great interest among global rally fans. We are looking forward to how World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson and the Polo GTI R5 will perform next year.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen

OTHER POLO GTI R5 ACTIVITY
In other Polo GTI R5 news, Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen have taken delivery of a Polo GTI R5 with which they will tackle the 2019 Finnish Rally Championship plus two rounds of WRC 2 (Rally Sweden and Rally Finland). The car’s first outing will be the Arctic Lapland Rally from 24-26 January 2019. On 9 December 2018, the very blue HK Racing Polo GTI R5 of Alessandro Re and Fulvio Florean finished second in class at the Monza Rally Sprint.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: HK Racing (Image: Monza Eni Circuit)

It has also been announced that another example of the new four-wheel drive Polo rally car will contest the Ice Race at Zell am See from 19-20 January 2019. In all intents and purposes a further Polo GTI R5 works outing, the new customer-focused rally Polo will line up with a pair of motorsport-themed Mk 2 Golfs on the ice. Both the 1986 Group A Golf and the 1987 Pikes Peak twin-engined challenger will be in attendance and the legendary Volkswagen works driver line-up includes Romain Dumas (Pikes Peak 2018) and Klaus-Joachim ‘Jochi’ Kleint (Pikes Peak 1987).

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07 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo climbs four places in UK’s most popular cars chart

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI (UK)

Following its re-entry into the UK’s top ten most popular cars chart in October after an absence in September’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures, the Volkswagen Polo climbed four places in November’s list. A total of 3,115 Polos were registered in the UK during November, rewarding it sixth place. Its tally of 40,221 units puts it seventh in the year-to-date list.

The Polo slipped out of September’s UK most popular cars listing due to new regulation and the introduction of the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) certification. This legislation requires car manufacturers to test their complete model range to the new standards that measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars, as well as their pollutant emissions. September’s figures showed an across the board dip of 20 per cent, so we suspect it wasn’t just Volkswagen which was affected. In October, the Polo reappeared on the rundown in tenth place.

Steady decline
In November, UK registrations dipped 3.0 per cent compared to the same period in 2017, maintaining its steady decline thanks to, states the SMMT, ‘uncertainty, falling customer confidence and supply constraints’. Year-to-date figures point to a 6.9 per cent drop in demand for January to November, which is ‘in line with industry expectations’, the SMMT says.

As ever, the Ford Fiesta still tops the monthly and year-to-date charts, with 5,193 and 90,173 units registered respectively. Volkswagen’s Golf was second with 4,678 cars finding new homes, and with 60,605 units registered during the year so far, it sits in second place behind the Fiesta in the year-to-date list. The UK’s top 10 most popular cars during November 2018 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 5,193 (90,173, 1st)
2 Volkswagen Golf: 4,678 (60,605, 2nd)
3 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 4,104 (39,243, 8th)
4 Nissan Qashqai: 3,195 (47,937, 4th)
5 Mini: 3,170 (40,254, 6th)
6 Volkswagen Polo: 3,115 (40,221, 7th)
7 Ford Focus: 3,068 (46,573, 5th)
8 Vauxhall Mokka X: 2,778
9 Kia Sportage: 2,731 (34,069, 10th)
10 Vauxhall Corsa: 2,594 (48,651, 3rd)

(The UK’s 2018 year-to-date top ten most popular car absent from November’s registration figures was the ninth-placed Ford Kuga with 37,752 registrations.)

Chart topper
In South Africa the latest sixth-generation Polo followed on from its lead for October, and topped the passenger car sales chart with 3,092 cars registered. With 2,427 units in new garages, the fifth-generation Polo-based Polo Vivo was again fast in its tyre tracks. In contrast to the UK, Ford Fiesta registrations totalled just 980. Overall, the South African new car market saw a year-on-year decline in November, with overall sales of 47,486, down 4.6 per cent on the same month in 2017.

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03 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Fifth place for Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Polo GTI R5 at Prague Rally Sprint

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Prague Rally Sprint

The new Polo GTI R5 followed up on its podium place on the 2018 Rally Spain with a fifth place finish at the 2018 Prague Rally Sprint. Vojtěch Štajf / Karel Janeček just missed out on victory in the number 21 Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) car.

The first customer-run Polo GTI R5 in competition – which was only handed over to the Austrian team last week – crossed the line just 6.1 seconds behind the winners Martin Koči and Radovan Mozner Jr in their Škoda Fabia R5. Štajf and Janeček were leading by over 13 seconds going into the final stage, and looked set to take the first non-works Polo GTI R5 win. However, the duo sadly clipped a kerb, which cost them time.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Prague Rally Sprint

A first stage win was also on the cards, too, on stage four, at 10.86kms the longest of the event. The Czech pairing finished just four tenths of a second off the leading time. The Prague Rally Sprint was the first competitive outing for a Polo GTI R5 in customer hands. The 270bhp four-wheel drive machine had previously demonstrated its speed on gravel and tarmac at the Rally Spain in October, where both the crews of Petter Solberg / Veronica Engan and Eric Camilli / Benjamin Veillas both won special stages.

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25 November 2018 ~ 0 Comments

First Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 delivered to Baumschlager Rallye & Racing

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The first customer Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 rally car to emerge from Volkswagen Motorsport’s Hannover workshops has been handed over to its new owner. Car number one has gone to Baumschlager Rallye & Racing, owned by Raimund Baumschlager. The 59 year-old Austrian rally champion helped with the development of the 270bhp Polo GTI R5, and has campaigned an ex-works Polo R WRC in national rally championships.

Baumschlager and his team intends to focus on the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) with its Polo GTI R5. The 2019 ERC consists of eight rounds, and the R5 class forms the top category in the series. The class is also mandatory in the U28 competition. The first outing for Baumschlager’s car will be at the Prague Rallysprint (Pražský Rallysprint) on 1 December.

Another Polo GTI R5 was handed over to the Italian HK Racing team Italy, who will run the new car at the Monza Rally Show from 7-9 December, with cars for Belgian teams Bernard Munster Autosport and THX Racing arriving in the last week of November. Seven more Polo GTI R5 are scheduled to be delivered to customers in, Finland, Paraguay, Portugal and Sweden by the end of 2018.

Two different chassis
The ERC is held on both tarmac and gravel surfaces, so Baumschlager’s Polo was ordered with the components necessary for two chassis set-ups. ‘Two Polo GTI R5 are already earmarked for the ERC. We have a handful of interested parties for the third car,’ said Baumschlager. ‘We have had many enquiries from customers who enjoy a close association with VW and are very pleased that it is now also offering a rally car,’ added the 14-time Austrian rally champion.

The four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 is a customer sports rally car developed by Volkswagen Motorsport for the R5 class. The R5 cars are relatively close to their production counterparts, and are approved in the WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship, but they also represent the highest class in selected regional and national championships.

‘Start of a new chapter’
‘The Polo GTI R5 rally car heralds the start of a new chapter for Volkswagen Motorsport,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘After the homologation by the FIA and the successful competitive debut in Spain – complete with a podium result for Petter Solberg – the delivery of the first car to a customer marks the next major milestone.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The production and distribution of between 30 and 40 Polo GTI R5s a year is planned from 2019. Juliane Gründl, Head of Sales at Volkswagen Motorsport, said: ‘The handing over of the first Polo GTI R5 takes the new customer sport project at Volkswagen Motorsport into the next phase. We currently working hard on the production of more cars, as well as the logistics required to distribute spare parts all over the world are also in place.’

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