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08 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo remains one of the UK’s most popular cars

The Volkswagen Polo held firm as one of the UK’s top ten most popular cars during May 2019. A total of 2,902 Polos found new homes putting it in ninth place for May, and with an overall tally of 19,013, seventh place for the year-to-date. The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recorded a third place for the Golf with 4,655 units, while the Tiguan SUV had a tally of 2,785 registrations, placing it in tenth spot. The same two popular Volkswagens were also mainstays of April’s SMMT figures.

Superminis and small family cars most popular
The Ford Fiesta once again topped both charts, with 6,710 and 35,790 units in the May 2019 and year-to-date rundowns respectively. The Ford Focus was second in both lists with totals of 5,556 and 26,789. The Golf was also third in the year-to-date figures, recording 26,020 units.

As with April, overall, UK registrations declined again in May. A fall of 4.6 per cent gave a total of 183,724 units, and while superminis and small family car demand also slumped, these types still account for a majority 56.3 per cent of the market. Alternatively-fuelled vehicle numbers grew again, up 11.7 per cent, and battery electric cars saw demand surge by 81.1 per cent, but these still only account for 0.6 per cent of the overall new car market in the UK. Petrol-powered cars enjoyed a modest one per cent rise.

The UK’s top ten most popular cars during May 2019 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 6,710 (35,790, 1st)
2 Ford Focus: 5,556 (26,789, 2nd)
3 Volkswagen Golf: 4,655 (26,020, 3rd)
4 Vauxhall Corsa: 3,993 (24,368, 4th)
5 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,735 (23,951, 5th)
6 Nissan Qashqai: 3,636 (23,847, 6th)
7 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 3,387
8 Nissan Juke: 2,978
9 Volkswagen Polo: 2,902 (19,013 7th)
10 Volkswagen Tiguan: 2,785

(The 2019 year-to-date top ten most popular cars absent from May 2019’s registration figures were the eighth-placed Ford Kuga, the ninth-placed Kia Sportage and the tenth-placed Mini with 16,724, 15,893 and 15,502 units recorded respectively.)

2018 Volkswagen Polo Vivo

Polo Vivo rides a sales wave in South Africa
In what is now a very familiar story, the Polo Vivo surfed the dizzy heights of the sales wave in South Africa during May 2019. Topping the South African new passenger car registrations chart, the latest National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) figures point to 2,478 Polo Vivos finding new homes last month. The sixth-generation Polo once again provided a support act in second place with a total of 1,390 units.

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06 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport announces technical fix and update for Polo GTI R5

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

After a spate of Polo GTI R5s unexpectedly and suddenly catching fire – the most recent incident featuring WRC2 star Ole Christian Veiby at last weekend’s Rally Portugal – Volkswagen Motorsport has announced that a technical update will be applied to current customers’ cars.

After consulting with experts, the Hanover outfit states that the problem appears to lie with the position of the safety valve on the fuel tank, which must be adjusted. After the solution has been tested, all cars sold so far will receive the update free of charge. In the meantime, teams who currently run the 270bhp machine have been advised of the findings and have received fuel and check recommendations. The full official Volkswagen Motorsport press release issued today is reproduced below.

Update for the Polo GTI R5: customer cars will be revised
Volkswagen Motorsport is working flat out on a technical update for the Polo GTI R5, after multiple customer cars suffered fire damage at rallies in recent weeks. Working together with experts and consultants, Volkswagen Motorsport has thoroughly investigated several of the cars affected and has already developed technical solutions based on the results. Tests have been arranged at short notice. Once these have been completed, all customer cars will receive the update free of charge.

The investigations revealed that the position of the safety valve on the fuel tank must be adjusted, as its function may be restricted when using a specific fuel. In some instances, the fuel cell breathing system becomes blocked, resulting in ‘over’ pressure. Together with the heat from the exhaust, this ‘over’ pressure can cause a deformation of the tank cover. This can ultimately result in contact between the propshaft and the exhaust, ultimately causing damage to the fuel cell system.

Based on these findings, Volkswagen Motorsport has developed a technical solution. The plan is to reinforce the tank cover around the propshaft and exhaust with a steel support and to optimise the insulation. The fuel cell breathing system is being modified, in order to reliably regulate any possible ‘over’ pressure. Furthermore, the clearance between the central exhaust and the tank is to be increased.

All these measures will be tested in good time and in realistic conditions. Once they have been successfully evaluated, all Polo GTI R5 will receive the update free of charge. Customer teams have already been informed of the procedure and have also received recommendations for suitable fuels and regular checks on their cars.

For more details on the Polo GTI R5, head over to its dedicated pages on the Volkswagen Motorsport website.

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27 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Oliver Solberg wins Rally Liepāja

Seventeen-year-old Oliver Solberg made motorsport history over the weekend of 24-26 May, as he and co-driver Aaron Johnston crossed the line first at the 2019 Rally Liepāja in his Bullfrog and Circle K-backed Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. The son of World Rally and World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg became the youngest ever winner in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC).

The third round of the 2019 ERC season, Solberg and Johnston completed the 128-mile event 22.7 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals, reigning ERC victors Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov of Russia. The Latvian rally was Solberg’s first event with the Polo GTI R5 on gravel and the young Norwegian won a supremely impressive ten stages from a possible 13. ‘This is the best day of my life, absolutely unbelievable,’ Solberg exclaimed.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Rally Liepaja, Solberg/Johnston

Biggest win of his life
By the end of day one, Solberg and Northern Irish Johnston had built a 9.7-second advantage over their nearest rivals. Only sliding wide in a right-hand junction mid-way through the third stage cost the youngster the chance to dominate every stage. Solberg doubled his lead on day two, and not even rutted roads and the onset of rain derailed him. He sealed the biggest win of his life with the fastest time on the 13th and final stage.

It was the Polo GTI R5’s first ERC win, too, the 270bhp Volkswagen Motorsport customer sports rally machine the very same car Petter Solberg debuted last year. ‘Our car has the chassis number one and last October my father drove it at the Rally Spain for the first time,’ said Solberg. ‘For me it’s really special that he lets me drive it now.’

He continued: ‘This is the biggest moment of my life, the biggest day of my life. Of course, I wanted to be at the front, but this is the European championship and it’s a level up from where I am competing. In the shakedown, I wanted to make some changes to the car and the notes weren’t quite perfect. I pushed in the Qualifying Stage and we came out fastest.

‘So proud’
‘I have to say a big thank you to my team – they made the car so comfortable for me. I had no problems and I was taking the confidence that I could push and push harder. I want to say a big thank you to everybody at the European Rally Championship, too, as I have been made to feel so welcome. And to become the youngest ever winner of an ERC round is unbelievable. I’m so proud to do this. What a day for me and Aaron. Fantastic!’ reported a delight Solberg.

Triple champion Petter Solberg was proud of his son had achieved. ‘I know we keep saying this, but what Oliver’s doing is unbelievable. We didn’t know what to expect from the ERC, but he’s come and won the rally. From the fastest time at the qualifying stage and all the way through the event, he’s controlled everything. He’s also been the calmest guy out of all of us!’

Rally Liepāja also staged the third and fourth rounds of the Latvian Rally Championship. Solberg and Johnston are also competitors in the national series, and were beaten in the third round by Estonians Georg Gross and Raigo Mõlder in their more powerful Ford Fiesta WRC. The fourth round saw the Norwegian-British pair grab victory by 32.5 seconds, which enabled them to build on their lead in the overall championship. Solberg and Johnston also took victory at the previous two Latvian Rally Championship events, the 2019 Rally Alūksne and the 2019 Rally Sarma.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Rally Liepaja, Herczig/Ferencz

Fourteenth and seventeenth
Another pair of Polo GTI R5s competed in the 2019 Rally Liepāja. The Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) Polo of Norbert Herczig and Ramon Ferencz started the Latvian event first and acted as a ‘sweeper’ on the stages, only achieving 14th in the final results. Another BRR Polo driven by Albert von Thurn and Taxis and Bernhard Ettel enjoyed a solid run and finished 17th.

[Images: Herczig car – Alexandre Guillaumot]

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08 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo rises one place in UK new car registrations chart

2019 Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo increased in popularity during April 2019, and was the seventh most popular car in the UK, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). A total of 3,022 Polos were registered in April and its top ten ten chart placing is one position up on March. With a tally of 16,111 Polos registered in so far in 2019, the small Volkswagen is currently – and neatly – seventh in the year-to-date list, too.

Golf and Tiguan also in top ten

Once again, the Volkswagen Golf was in third place for April, moving up once place to second in the year-to-date tally. The Volkswagen Tiguan SUV was one place behind the Polo in eighth in the April set of figures, and the Ford Fiesta again tops both run-downs. The Ford Focus makes up the top three in both lists.

Overall, UK registrations declined again in April. A 4.1 per cent slump to a total of 161,064 units is the second lowest April volume since 2012. In an about turn, the supermini market fell 14.1 per cent, with the small family car segment also suffering a 10.6 per cent loss. Overall, alternatively-fuelled vehicle numbers rose by 12.7 per cent, with petrol electric hybrids the most popular choice. Battery electric cars also grew to 1,517 units, but still only account for 0.9 per cent of the market. Petrol and diesel volumes were down, but not by as significant amounts witnessed in recent months.

The UK’s top ten most popular cars during April 2019 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 5,606 (29,080, 1st)


2 Ford Focus: 9,734 (21,233, 3rd)


3 Volkswagen Golf: 3,953 (21,365, 2nd)

4 Nissan Qashqai: 3,791 (20,211, 6th)

5 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,584 (20,216, 5th)

6 Ford Kuga: 3,455 (14,260, 8th)
7 Volkswagen Polo: 3,022 (16,111 7th)
8 Volkswagen Tiguan: 2,822
9 Vauxhall Corsa: 2,728 (20,735, 4th)

10 Hyundai Tucson: 2,702

(The 2019 year-to-date top ten most popular cars absent from April 2019’s registration figures were the ninth-placed Kia Sportage and the tenth-placed Mini with 13,329 and 13,280 units recorded respectively.)

Polo Vivo atop South African new car chart
Once again, the Polo Vivo reigned supreme at the top of the South African new passenger car registrations chart. The latest NAAMSA South African registration figures point to 2,350 Polo Vivos finding new homes during April, with the sixth-generation Polo’s total at 1,165. A much smaller figure, 235 Polo Sedans were registered in South Africa last month.

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26 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Gilbert takes third place at Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône: Gilbert/Guieu

French rally driver Quentin Gilbert has taken his HK Racing Polo GTI R5 to third place at the Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône, the second round of the 2019 French Rally Championship. Gilbert and co-driver Christopher Guieu just missed out on a runner-up podium position by just 0.8 seconds, beaten by Citroën C3 R5 driver Yohan Rossel.

But, Gilbert was still pleased his and Guieu’s result after the 130-mile event. ‘Of course, we’re disappointed to have missed out on second place by such a small margin, but all in all this is another good result. We had good speed, even though we could not keep up with the pace at the front.’

The winner of the 2019 Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône was reigning French rally champion Yoann Bonato in another Citroën C3 R5. Thanks to this result and their second place at the Rallye Touquet Pas-de-Calais opening round, Gilbert and Guieu are second in the overall 2019 championship standings. Find out more at www.ffsa.org.

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