Archive | Polo 2017-

20 January 2021 ~ 0 Comments

New Volkswagen Polo Harlequin created to brighten up Blue Monday

Here’s something to brighten up the darkest and bleakest January day. The enterprising Volkswagen importer in the Netherlands has created an updated version of the arresting Polo Harlequin, which was sold in Europe. Unveiled for ‘Blue Monday’ on 18 January, the new version of VW’s small car joker wears a brightly coloured wrap and is based on the current sixth-generation Polo.

It’s not the first time an updated version of the Polo Harlequin (named ‘Harlekin’ in Europe) has appeared of course, but this latest attempt is set apart by just how well it has been done, and by how ‘official’ it looks. But then it has, in effect, been made by Volkswagen Netherlands. There’s also the fact that its original Harlekin buddy in these images is in tip-top condition. It’s rekindling all sorts of rare Polo desires in us!

Originally on sale in the UK in April 1996 – yes, the Harlequin is now, unbelievably, 25 years old – after its its appearance at the 1995 London Motor Show, the Polo Harlequin was based on the 1.4 CL. Featuring their own unique upholstery, UK-bound Harlekins were equipped with a driver’s airbag, Polo GLX ‘sports bumpers’, white indicators, as well as darkened tail lights. The UK price at launch for the five-door-only model was £11,095.

‘Building block’ approach
Manufactured in batches of four (Yellow, Pistachio Green, Chagall Blue and Flash Red were the base car colours), the idea was reportedly born from how the continental, European-market Polo was sold. Employing a ‘building block’ approach where buyers could pick and choose between various option packs rather than the UK’s solid trim levels, the bundles were marketed with each one a different colour: blue for chassis and engine; yellow for equipment; green for paint colours; and red for options. Yep, you’ve guessed it, the same colours as the Harlequin panels.

The other innovative approach with the Polo Harlequin was that the buyer was unable to specify a particular panel to be a particular colour – the combination that their car arrived in would be a complete surprise! Around 250 Golf Harlequins employed the same idea in the US, and both the rainbow-coloured Polo and Golf may have been inspired by the ‘Ballyhoo’ Beetle of 1971 which was painted in the 10 colours of the UK-market model.

Initially a concept to gain a production acceptance, VW displayed the Harlequin at the 1995 Frankfurt motor show, and was inundated with customer requests to buy it. Twenty cars were initially made for the promotion of the ‘Baukasten’ building block option system, and a run of 1,000 cars followed. A total of 3,100 Harlequins were eventually produced. UK buyers bought only 113 examples, and a quick check on howmanyleft.co.uk shows that 27 Harlequin are still registered for use on UK roads.

Sadly, there are no plans to put the 2021 Polo Harlequin into serial production, the car clearly made just to brighten people’s spirits during what is traditionally a quiet and unexciting time of year. It has certainly succeeded. However, we think a production version could be just the ticket drivers need for 2021 as we hopefully start to slowly and steadily populate roads again, and see 2020 increasingly disappear in the rear view mirror. It’s also an anniversary ripe for exploiting. How about it VW?

[Images: Eric Van Vuuren / Volkswagen Netherlands]

Would you like to see a new and official production version of the Polo Harlequin? Let us know in the comments section below.

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18 January 2021 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo Vivo crowned 2020’s most popular car in South Africa

2018 Volkswagen Polo Vivo

Volkswagen Group South Africa took the vehicle registrations top spot for 2020 in the local market, with the Polo Vivo once again crowned the country’s most popular new car. A total of 19,750 units of Volkswagen South Africa’s entry-level model were registered in the pandemic-hit year, almost a third of the VW-brand’s 53,319 recorded registrations.

The sixth-generation Polo-based T-Cross SUV was South Africa’s most popular imported car, with 5,693 units registered. Now the country’s second most popular vehicle in the A0 SUV segment, the T-Cross has fast found favour, on sale in South Africa for less than two years.

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

A total of 63,482 vehicles were registered by Volkswagen Group South Africa in 2020 and the Volkswagen brand’s market share of 21.6 per cent is the highest in the company’s long history in South Africa. Audi also ended the year with an improved market share, up to 18.5 per cent, and even Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles enjoyed a record full-year 3.7 per cent piece of the light commercial pie. The Audi Q2 and Volkswagen Caddy were the respective star players.

‘A challenging year’
‘2020 was a challenging year not just for our brands but for the motoring industry as a whole and to come out of 2020 still holding onto our leadership of the passenger car market is an incredible feat,’ stated Mike Glendinning, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) sales and marketing director.

‘VWSA was severely affected by the pandemic which ground vehicle sales to a halt in April; our 2020 sales are down by 28.9 per cent year-on-year when compared to 2019,’ said Glendinning. ‘Despite the difficulties we faced, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand posted a record market share last year; the 21.6 per cent market share is 1.2 per cent higher than that of 2019 and is the highest market share in the history of the brand, as well as the highest market share of Volkswagen markets across the world,’ Glendinning added.

Production milestone
In November 2020, Volkswagen South Africa’s Uitenhage factory celebrated the four millionth car to roll off its lines. Currently the home of the Polo for local and export markets, as well as the Polo Vivo, the plant built 75,521 Polos for export up until the celebratory milestone, as well as 12,804 units for local consumption. A total of 17,038 Polo Vivos were also produced for the local market, the only one in which it is sold.

It looks to be another busy year for Volkswagen South Africa, with the brand celebrating its 70th birthday in August 2021. The year will be kickstarted by the arrival of the eighth-generation Golf GTI, followed later by the new Golf R and refreshed Tiguan. New versions of the Caddy and T6.1 Kombi will also debut. In the wider group sphere, Audi’s new A3 will also appear, along with refreshed versions of the RS 4, RS 5, RS 6, RS 7, RS Q8, RS Q3, and R8.

Steffan Knapp has also replaced Martina Biene as the head of the Volkswagen Passenger Car Brand in South Africa, and joins from Volkswagen India where he successfully turned the brand around. The fifth-generation Polo and its Vento saloon sister were launched there in 2010.

Elsewhere in the world, the sixth-generation Polo was the eighth most popular car in the UK, with 26,965 units registered (with grey the most popular colour – what a very imaginative bunch the British car buying public is!). According to focus2move.com, up until December 2020, the Polo was also the third most popular car in Europe during the year, its 225,941-unit total down 27.5 per cent compared to 2019. Behind its second-placed Golf sibling (283,614 units) and the top-spot Renault Clio (314,357 units), over 14 million Polos have been produced since its introduction in 1975.

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11 August 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Model Year 2021 updates applied to Volkswagen Polo range

MY21 Volkswagen roundel

As Volkswagen starts production of Model Year 2021 cars, a raft of changes have been introduced across the range, and the Polo benefits from small amendments to its specification and engine choices.

The largest external change to Volkswagen’s supermini is the the positioning of the ‘Polo’ model designation badge, which now appears spaced out under the ‘VW’ roundel on the tailgate of the car, as with the new Golf. The roundel itself has been revised, too, and now adopts the simplified VW logo which first first unveiled in autumn 2019.

‘Extra reassurance’
SEL trim now gains the choice of the three-cylinder, 1.0-litre TSI 93bhp petrol engine, while the Polo range now begins with SE trim. Across all Polo trim levels, Emergency Call Service has been added, which Volkswagen states ‘brings extra reassurance in the event of an incident’.

Further changes are set to be announced at a later date. The sound-optimised ‘Beats’ model is to be given a new exterior and interior treatment, which we suspect, is part of a wider-reaching round of revisions or mid-cycle refresh, given that the sixth-generation model has now been on sale for just over three years.

RDE2-compliant engines
Elsewhere, other Volkswagens receive new ‘VW’ and ‘R-Line’ logos, and all compatible models have been updated to include the latest ‘MIB3’ infotainment system, bringing the benefit of wireless Apple CarPlay – alongside streaming and internet – thanks to an integrated eSIM. Additionally, cleaner RDE2-compliant engines are being introduced on all models throughout the coming months.

MY21 Volkswagen MIB3 system

The T-Cross, the Polo’s SUV brother – and Volkswagen’s smallest SUV – is also fitted with the new VW roundel, and MIB3, featuring wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity and a three-year subscription to We Connect Plus. The T-Cross range also gains fully RDE2-compliant engines, with the addition of a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre TSI 107bhp DSG unit. The existing 93, 112, and 147bhp options remain.

Sarah Cox, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen UK said: ‘Model Year updates usually bring a host of improvements, but the introduction of a new infotainment system, the stylish new badge for much of the range, and the latest RDE2-compliant engines rolling out across the rest of the year, on top of many other changes, combine to create a step above and beyond the regular update.’

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06 August 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo returns to UK top ten most popular cars list

2019 Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo returned to the most popular cars in the UK chart in July, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). With 2,932 Polos registered, the small Volkswagen was in seventh place, marking the first time it had been in the rundown since February 2020. However, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Polo maintained its eighth position in the year-to-date top ten figures – 13,046 Polos have been registered since the start of 2020.

The Vauxhall Corsa topped the chart, with 5,455 registrations, no doubt a benefit of the all-new model now hitting the UK. The Ford Fiesta was in second place with 5,421 units, with another blue oval-badged model, the Focus, third, 4,981 cars finding homes. The Volkswagen Golf and Mercedes-Benz A-Class rounded out the top five cars, with 3,936 and 3,922 units respectively.

Pent-up demand
Unsurprisingly, UK registrations were down 41.9 per cent when compared to 2019 year-to-date figures. The SMMT reports that pent-up demand saw registrations rally in July with an 11.3 per cent increase to 174,887 vehicles. By the end of the year, though, it forecasts overall tallies to be down by 30 per cent, totalling £20bn in lost sales.* The UK’s top ten most popular new cars during July 2020 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Vauxhall Corsa: 5,455 (23,101, 3rd)
2 Ford Fiesta: 5,421 (23,126, 1st)
3 Ford Focus: 4,981 (23,126, 2nd)
4 Volkswagen Golf: 3,936 (21,825, 4th)

5 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,922 (17,648, 6th)
6 Nissan Qashqai: 2,971 (17,777, 5th)

7 Volkswagen Polo: 2,932 (13,046, 8th)
8 Mini: 2,906 (15,146, 7th)
9 Volkswagen Tiguan: 2.880 (12,822, 9th)
10 Ford Kuga: 2,686

(The 2020 year-to-date top ten most popular car absent from July 2020’s UK registration figures was the tenth-placed Toyota Yaris with 12,646 units recorded.)

* Based on an expected shortfall of c708,000 units at an average cost from JATO of c£28,000 per vehicle.

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24 July 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Value-added Polo United boosts small Volkswagen’s appeal

A new value-packed version of the Polo has been launched by Volkswagen UK. The Polo United kicks off a range of equipment-rich Volkswagens, and is joined by similarly named editions of the T-Cross and T-Roc SUVs. The trio of new VWs are all distinguished by special exterior and interior items, all of which equate to up to £1,760 of ‘added value’. Each gets bespoke styling, badging and extra kit.

The Polo United is based on the Polo Match and follows a German-market Polo United model which first appeared in January 2020. The Polo Match is already equipped with alloy wheels, App-Connect smartphone mirroring, and leather-trimmed, three-spoke multifunction steering wheels and gear knobs. The Polo United adds bespoke ‘United’ badging and door sill protectors, ‘Dublin’ alloy wheels, voice control and a Winter Pack, consisting of heated front seats and a low washer fluid warning light.

Bespoke interior
The Polo United also includes an 8.0-inch ‘Discover Navigation’ touchscreen infotainment system, a Light and Sight Pack (automatic dimming interior mirror, automatic headlights, manual coming / automatic leaving home lighting function and a rain sensor). Inside, all three models feature bespoke grey and blue seat fabric, brushed stainless steel pedals, decorative interior inserts, as well as front and rear carpet mats.

Two petrol engines are available for the Polo United. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder 78bhp ‘Evo’ and 93bhp TSI engines are both coupled to five-speed manual gearboxes, with the higher-powered unit benefitting from the option of a seven-speed DSG. The Polo United starts from £17,350, ‘on-the-road’.

Sarah Cox, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: ‘The Polo, T-Cross and T-Roc are three integral models in the Volkswagen UK family, and find tens of thousands of happy customers per year. Not only do the United models build upon the champion offering of those models, but they represent considerable value savings, with their affordable pricing and generous equipment boosts. The United editions are united in offering greater value, bigger equipment lists, and an even more enjoyable ownership experience.’

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