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05 November 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo returns to the UK’s top ten most popular cars chart

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI (South Africa)

The Volkswagen Polo made a welcome return to the UK’s most popular car chart in October. According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the Polo ranked ninth in the UK’s top ten registrations rundown.

A total of 2,191 Polos found new homes, just below the 2,547 Tiguans in eighth place. In ninth place overall, 32,257 Polos have been registered in 2019 to date. October’s ranking marks the first time the Polo has returned to the UK’s most popular cars rundown since July.

Even though the seventh-generation Golf is now officially a run-out model due to the unveiling of the new eighth-generation car, the older variants popularity shows no sign of waning. With 3,976 units registered, the Golf makes number three in October’s most popular cars chart, with the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Fiesta above it, in second and first places respectively.

Elsewhere, UK registrations fell 6.7 per cent in October compared to the same month in 2018, but alternatively-fuelled vehicles reached a record 9.9 per cent market share with 14,231 counted. The UK’s top ten most popular new cars during October 2019 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 5,138 (69,702, 1st)
2 Nissan Qashqai: 4,084 (46,569, 6th)

3 Volkswagen Golf: 3,976 (50,468, 3rd)

4 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,630 (46,923, 5th)
5 Ford Focus: 3,585 (49,517, 2nd)
6 Ford Kuga: 3,041 (33,848, 8th)
7 Kia Sportage: 2,588 (30,815, 10th)
8 Volkswagen Tiguan: 2,547

9 Volkswagen Polo: 2,191 (32,257, 9th)
10 Range Rover Evoque: 2,134


(The 2019 year-to-date top ten most popular cars absent from October 2019’s registration figures were the fourth-placed Vauxhall Corsa and the seventh-placed Mini, with 49,341 and 34,387 units recorded respectively.)

Polo family reigns in South Africa
The Polo Vivo continued its best-selling run in South Africa, topping the passenger car sales charts with 2,937 cars found new owners. The latest National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) figures state that the sixth-generation Polo was in second place again with 2,098 units sold.

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

The Polo-based T-Cross registered a tally of 1,132 cars, while 522 of the often-forgotten Polo Sedan rolled out of showrooms. It’s not just new car buyers the Polo is popular with, either. On the South African used car market, the fifth-generation Polo was the most sought-after model according to Auto Trader, with the Polo Vivo two places down the rankings.

Volkswagen Uitenhage factory celebrates production record

Volkswagen South Africa’s Uitenhage factory produced a total of 16,453 vehicles in October, marking a new monthly record for the plant. A total of 140,782 vehicles have been manufactured at the factory during the year-to-date: 92,029 were for export and 60,107 were for the local market.

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23 October 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Siemoneit Racing Volkswagen Polo GTI packs 316bhp punch

The latest 197bhp Polo GTI may be the most powerful version of Volkswagen’s smaller hot hatch icon to hit the roads, but it’s the not the most powerful series production Polo ever. That honour goes to the 217bhp limited edition 2013 Polo R WRC Street. But don’t worry: the take on the current Polo GTI offered by Siemoneit Racing blows the R WRC Street well and truly out of the water.

Based in Ottenbecker near Hamburg, the German tuner’s modifications packages will take the current Polo GTI’s power up to 316bhp. Siemoneit’s Stage 1 option boosts the standard car’s 2.0-litre engine from 197bhp to 242bhp (the same as the larger Golf GTI Performance in factory tune), with torque up to 302lb ft, 66lb ft over the original figure. The cost? Around £535 (€598). For a little extra, Stage 1+ adds a further 5bhp and 11lb ft.

316bhp, 317lb ft
But the full-fat Stage 3+ is where the real fun and games begin. The Golf R-bothering 316bhp and 317lb ft comes courtesy of an enlarged turbocharger, a new intercooler and plumbing pipes, as well as a performance sports exhaust, and tweaks to the DSG gearbox to handle the beefed-up power. Super-Golf performance doesn’t come cheap, though: at £8,000 (€8,998) once the cost of the donor car has been factored in, the price is right in Golf R terrority, too.

But if that’s still not hardcore enough (rarely has the word ‘hardcore’ been used in conjunction with a Polo GTI before), for around £11,000 (€11,630), Siemoneit Racing will turn your Polo GTI into something of a Porsche 968 Clubsport. Kind of. The rear seats are ditched and replaced by a full roll-cage, Recaros with Sabelt harnesses keep you pinned in your seat as the Siemoneit Polo GTI’s pace catapults you towards the horizon and KW Clubsport suspension and 18-inch ATS rims wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber keep the performance Polo pinned to the tarmac.

All that translates to a 0 to 62mph time of 5.2 seconds – 1.5 seconds faster than the standard Polo GTI – and a top speed of 159mph. With little evidence of a more powerful official Polo GTI Performance model in the offing, Siemoneit Racing’s programme of upgrades offer exciting, if expensive, ways to turn VW’s second-smallest hot hatch into a real road-burner. If you like what you see, find out more at www.siemoneit-racing.de.

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07 October 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen South Africa introduces entry-level R242,300 Polo Conceptline

Volkswagen South Africa has added a new Conceptline entry-level model to its local Polo range. Sitting above the fifth-generation Polo-based Vivo and the turbocharged sixth-generation models, the Conceptline is priced from R242,300 (including CO2 tax and VAT).

Only available with five doors – as are all sixth-generation Polos – the Conceptline is powered by an 89bhp (66kW), 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine allied to a five-speed manual gearbox. Despite being the cheapest entry point into new Polo ownership, the Conceptline does feature technology and a reasonable standard of equipment.

A four-speaker, 6.6-inch ’Composition Colour’ infotainment system comes as standard, with USB type C/Bluetooth/Apple iPod and iPhone connectivity, along with electronic stability control, LED daytime running lights, remote central locking, as well as side front and curtain front/rear airbags. Front electric windows are also fitted, and the Conceptline rolls on 5J x 14-inch steel wheels with 175/50 R14 tyres.

Core Package
Options include Convenience, Lights and Vision, and Park Distance Control packages. Priced at R3,750, the Core Package includes a leather multifunction steering wheel, front fog lamps, and the rest assist function. Metallic and pearlescent paint can be specified at no extra cost, and 15-inch ‘Sassari’ alloy wheels are priced at R4,700.

Despite being R10,100 cheaper than the 94bhp (70kW) Polo Trendline Manual TSI, the Polo Conceptine comes with Volkswagen South Africa’s three-year/120,000km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty, 15,000km service intervals, and a three-year, 45,000km service plan. Find out more about the Volkswagen South Africa Polo range at www.vw.co.za.

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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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