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09 September 2019 ~ 0 Comments

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

It has produced Polos for twenty-three years and on 6 September 2019, the Volkswagen South Africa factory in Uitenhage produced its 200,000th sixth-generation model. Local production started in 1996 with the Polo Classic, and the plant has produced most Polo models since, including the Polo Vivo, Volkswagen South Africa’s cost-conscious entry-level model.

One million vehicles
The sixth-generation Polo entered local production last year, and the Uitenhage facility has manufactured over one million vehicles for export since 1994. Of the 200,000 sixth-generation Polos built, 153,582 have been exported. Uitenhage exports the Polo to all right-hand drive markets, as well as supporting demand for left-hand drive Polos in Europe. A total of 46,418 new Polos have been produced for the local market, and the factory made 110,265 cars between January and August 2019, including the Polo GTI.

The production milestone also coincided with Volkswagen South Africa being named Exporter of the Year by Exporters Eastern Cape. The third time Volkswagen South Africa has picked up the prize, Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director said: ‘This milestone could not have been achieved without the dedication of our employees. Our success, both locally and overseas, benefits our workforce and the local economy. We intend to keep achieving these milestones and contributing to the economy of Nelson Mandela Bay.’

Volkswagen South Africa’s Uitenhage factory is 520,963sq m in size, and is situated around 466 miles east of Cape Town and 621 miles south of Johannesburg. Established in 1946, Volkswagen Group South Africa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Aktiengessellschaft in Germany.

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22 August 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Polo Vivo Dune concept unveiled at 2019 Festival of Motoring

The Polo Vivo Dune, a striking off-road-inspired concept of the all-conquering Polo Vivo has been unveiled at the 2019 Festival of Motoring and is one of five Volkswagens that will star at the five-day event held at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit near Johannesburg in South Africa. Other new Volkswagens on show at Kyalami include the new T-Cross SUV and the all-electric record-breaking ID R racer.

The Polo Vivo Dune concept was handbuilt by Volkswagen South Africa’s product engineering team under the leadership of Dr Joost Kessels, and is said to be inspired by ‘South Africa’s diverse landscapes’. The harsh, mountainous Great Karoo regions and the Kalahari Desert defined the Vivo Dune’s exterior colour – which is similar to the latest Polo’s Energetic Orange shade – and trim.

‘Off-road’ style
As its name suggests, the Vivo Dune is in the same ‘off-road’ style as the Beetle Dune, which first appeared in 2016 as a production car – a high-riding New Beetle Dune concept appeared as far back as 2000 (see below). Faux-SUV-style Polos such as the Cross Polo, which was also known as the Polo Dune in the UK, are closest to the Vivo Dune concept, though. The Dune concept looks to be based on the Polo Vivo Maxx, which is the rough and tumble star of the current Vivo range.

Outside, the Vivo Dune looks all ready to tackle the sand hills and South African National Parks. Special paint gives it an eye-catching look, while a roof carrier with integrated LED light bar, a snorkel on the nearside A-post, a front underbody cover, a pair of side ‘step’ bars and off-road tyres really push the off-road aesthetic.

Tailgate-mounted spare wheel
There are also LED headlights, ‘Dune’ decals and grille badge and perhaps most surprisingly, a tailgate carrier-mounted spare wheel at the rear, like a proper mud-plugger. A shark-fin antenna, tailgate spoiler, a chrome exhaust tailpipe and mud flaps also mark the Vivo Dune out as something a little more rugged than a regular Polo Dune.

Inside, body-coloured dash trim inserts, special trim panels and accent stitching carry the theme through from the exterior, while sports pedals, ‘Sun City Orange’ part leather seats embroidered with the ‘Dune’ logo lift the standard Polo Vivo cabin. There is also ‘off-road navigation’ (!), a two-way radio, and a multifunction steering wheel.

But, there are also some quite unique features. A mesh bulkhead has been installed behind the front seats (we can’t see if there are any rear seats), and houses a storage box with gas stove and fire extinguisher, a water dispenser, a collapsible table and chairs, and a 40-litre stainless steel fridge. The Polo Vivo Dune essentially has all the features of a Volkswagen California but with nowhere to sleep!

Not-for-sale concept
Volkswagen South Africa states that the Polo Vivo Dune concept car is just that and will not go on sale. It will be displayed at the Volkswagen AutoPavillion museum in Uithenhage, home to the factory where Polo Dunes and some right-hand drive sixth-generation Polos are built. However, the company also states that ‘certain elements’ of the car are being investigated for production in the near future. We hope so: it would look right at home cruising the plains and riding the dunes!

For more details on the 2019 Festival of Motoring, click here. For more information on the Polo Vivo range, visit the Volkswagen South Africa website.

THE HIGH-RIDERS: ALMOST TWO DECADES OF VOLKSWAGEN DUNE MODELS
The Polo Vivo Dune concept is just the latest in a list of off-road-style Dune-badged VW models. The first, the Beetle Dune concept of 2000 was said to have been inspired by the Baja bugs of the 1970s. Powered by a 150bhp, 2.3-litre, five-cylinder V5 engine, it featured all-wheel drive for proper go-anywhere ability, as well as a lift-out roof panel, chrome underbody guards, raised suspension and huge chromed rims and tyres.

The Beetle Dune production car debuted in 2016 and followed another similarly-named concept from 2014. Based on the second-generation, water-cooled Beetle, it featured plastic cladding, alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and, in the UK at least, a choice of 1.2-litre TSI and 2.0 TDI engines. Both ‘coupe’ and convertible models were available.

The 2004 Polo Fun was a similarly-inspired production car. Based on the Polo Trek concept of 2003, the Dune featured external plastic cladding, a 20mm raised ride height, roof rails, special interior trim, 17-inch BBS ‘Radial’ wheels and tyres, and unique Limette, Magma Orange and Raven Blue Metallic colours. Sold as the Polo Dune in the UK and powered by 64bhp 1.2 and 74bhp 1.4-litre petrol engines as well as a 1.4-litre 74bhp TDI unit, the car was known as the Polo Soho in Spain. A revised version in 2006 saw the Fun name dropped, and the Cross Polo badge adopted instead.

The Cross Polo name continued with the launch of the fifth-generation Polo in 2010, which took the same style route as its predecessors. Undoubtedly a fashionable addition to the fifth-generation Polo range and sold in China, India and South Africa, it became the Polo Vivo Maxx in February 2018, following the original 2014 Polo Dune-based Vivo Maxx. The Cross Polo was dropped for the latest sixth-generation Polo introduced in 2017.

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20 August 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen South Africa announces Polo Vivo Sound Edition

Following its debut at the Vivonation music festival in March, the Polo Vivo Sound Edition special has been officially announced for sale by Volkswagen South Africa.

Available to order in September for R220,000, the most obvious addition for the Polo Vivo Sound Edition is the six-speaker R340G radio system with subwoofer and Volkswagen App-Connect functionality. Only available in Limestone Grey, Pure White and Reef Blue paint finishes, the Vivo Sound Edition also gets anthracite-coloured 16-inch Rivazza alloy wheels. Energetic Orange mirror caps and special ‘equaliser’ (how 1980s!) graphics on the doors and tailgate also mark out the Vivo Sound Edition as something special.

An optional R2,500 ‘Black’ interior styling package can also be chosen to make the Vivo Sound Edition stand out even more, consisting of anthracite headlining, sun visors and trim, privacy glass for the rear windows as well as a leather steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake grip.

‘Premium sound system’
Aimed at younger drivers, the latest version of South Africa’s most popular passenger car joins a model range that has sold 17,672 units up until the end of July 2019. ‘We are confident that the addition of a special premium sound system in the Polo Vivo will appeal to young customers that are passionate about quality sound when they are listening to music,’ said Martina Biene, Head of Sales and Marketing for the Volkswagen Brand.

Based on the 1.4-litre Polo Vivo Comfortline, the Sound Edition gets that Vivo’s 84bhp, 1,398cc engine with 97lb ft (132Nm) of torque and a five-speed manual gearbox. A three-year/120,000km warranty and a six-year anti-corrosion guarantee are standard, with Volkswagen Maintenance and Volkswagen Service Plans available at additional cost. Service intervals for the Polo Vivo Sound Edition are every 15,000km.

The Polo Vivo has been the most popular car in South Africa for most of the last nine years and replaced the Citi Golf in 2010 as Volkswagen South Africa’s entry-level model. A budget hatchback which traditionally sits under the most recently-introduced version of the Polo, the second-generation Vivo was introduced in February 2018, based on the fifth-generation Polo. For more information on the Polo Vivo range, visit the Volkswagen South Africa website.

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18 August 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Thomas Bryntesson wins 2019 Euro RX of Germany in Polo RX Supercar

Norwegian Thomas Bryntesson claimed his first FIA European Rallycross Championship season victory on 18 August at the Euro RX of Germany, the fourth round of the 2019 series.

Bryntesson drove his Polo RX Supercar almost faultlessly at the Estering in Buxtehude, near Hamburg. The TBRX driver beat championship leader Robin Larsson of Sweden, with Rene Muennich of Germany third. A good launch and clear passage through turn one gave Bryntesson the edge, who started on the first row alongside Larsson’s Audi A1 RX. Up until Bryntesson’s win, Larsson had enjoyed an unblemished 2019 victory run.

Despite sodden, treacherous conditions and a puncture, Bryntesson delivered a masterclass in his Polo and added to his second place at the opening round, the Euro RX of Great Britain, and his third position at the Euro RX of Norway. Engine issues saw him finish seventh at the Euro RX of Sweden.

‘Super happy’
‘I am super happy for the team because we have been working really hard. It’s the first season in Euro RX Supercar, and it’s all new so to get a win here at such a famous track like Estering feels really good,’ 23-year-old Bryntesson said.

‘I got a really good start and traction out of the first corner which is really important at Estering. I just tried to spare the tyres because the track was drying up a little. I got a puncture just before the joker lap so I had to use the handbrake to get in to the joker but it worked out well and we got the win,’ he continued.

‘We lost a lot of points in Holjes at the Euro RX of Sweden with an engine failure but to score some good points here is important for the championship.’

Bryntesson’s win in Germany sees him second in the championship standings with 95 points, behind Larsson with 117. The Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars of Sondre Evjen and Peter Hedström – who finished fifth in Germany – are ninth and tenth with 46 and 37 points respectively.

[Images: FIAWorldRallycross.com]

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06 August 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Ninth-place for Volkswagen Polo in July’s most popular UK cars chart

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the Volkswagen Polo continued its run as one of the most popular cars in the UK during July 2019. A total of 2,568 Polos found new homes last month, putting the small Volkswagen in ninth place in the top ten passenger cars chart. With a figure of 26,173, the Polo also held firm as the seventh most popular car in the 2019 year-to-date figures.

Electric car volumes triple
Higher up July’s chart, the Volkswagen Golf was in second place behind the ever-popular Ford Fiesta (4,288 vs 5,646 units respectively), while the Tiguan SUV nudged into the list, too, one place above the Polo, in eighth position. Overall, the market declined again by 4.1 per cent to 157,198 registrations, and was the lowest July market since 2012. But, battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations almost tripled and took a record monthly market share. A new BEV forecast also suggests that in 2020, their full year share could double.

The Polo’s supermini sector dipped 12.1 per cent, bucking the trend of recent months, where it was the most popular. However, the Polo has also been announced as the UK’s fastest-selling used car by AA Cars, and is the car which spends the shortest amount of time being advertised before being sold.

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

1 Ford Fiesta: 5,646 (48,943, 1st)

2 Volkswagen Golf: 4,288 (35,781, 3rd)

3 Nissan Qashqai: 4,047 (33,227, 4th)
4 Ford Focus: 3,863 (36,102, 2nd)

5 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,702 (31,606, 6th)
6 Vauxhall Corsa: 3,079 (33,061, 5th)

7 Ford Kuga: 2,921 (23,346, 8th)
8 Volkswagen Tiguan: 2,624
9 Volkswagen Polo: 2,568 (26,173, 7th)
10 Kia Sportage: 2,292 (21,194, 10th)

(The 2019 year-to-date top ten most popular car absent from July 2019’s registration figures was the ninth-placed Mini, with 23,001 units recorded.)

2018 Volkswagen Polo Vivo

Polo Vivo still popular
Once again, the Polo Vivo was South Africa’s most popular passenger car in July 2019, with 2,621 examples registered according to the latest National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) figures. The sixth-generation Polo was runner-up again, too: its 2,076 units put it in second place.

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