08 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

1,250,000th Polo production jubilee celebrated by Volkswagen South Africa

Volkswagen South Africa celebrates production of its 1,250,000th Polo

On 6 March, Volkswagen South Africa celebrated the production of the 1,250,000th Polo at its factory in Uitenhage. Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa joined in the celebrations, together with employees and management of the vehicle assembly line.

Local and international markets
The South African Volkswagen plant which is 1,000km from Johannesburg builds both the current fifth-generation Polo, Cross Polo and its entry-level sister, the Polo Vivo, which is based on the 2005-2009 facelifted fourth-generation Polo. Uitenhage Polos are produced for local and international markets, with some right-hand drive models exported to the UK.

Polo Vivo meanwhile is an African-only model, introduced in 2010 to replace the Citi Golf. From December 2016, Kenya joined Uitenhage as a production facility and the car is sold in both countries. Both Polo and Polo Vivo have been the best-selling passenger cars in South Africa for the past seven years.

The 518,912 square-metre Uitenhage plant is a Volkswagen ‘Think Blue’ sustainable-initiative factory, and employs 4,000 people. In 2015 it built 120,000 Polo, Cross Polo, and Polo Vivo cars, in addition to 113,000 1.4 and 1.6-litre ‘EA111’-series engines for consumption by the whole VW group. Fifty-five per cent of the vehicles produced at Uitenhage in 2015 were exported.

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06 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Special edition Polo Vivo recreates iconic and popular Volkswagen Citi Golf

2017 Volkswagen Citi Vivo (South Africa)

Volkswagen South Africa has revived its iconic ‘Citi’ name for a new special edition version of the best-selling Polo Vivo. Most Volkswagen fans will know the nameplate when applied to the Citi Golf, South Africa’s version of the first-generation Golf which stayed on sale as an inexpensive entry-level car after the second-generation of the venerable hatchback was introduced in 1984.

Special edition of 2,000
Keeping with the spirit of the original Citi Golf, the Citi Vivo is available in a similar vibrant Flash Red, Sunflower Yellow and Cornflower Blue palette as South Africa’s popular Volkswagen, which finally ended production in 2009. Over 377,000 Citi Golfs were built, but the series of Citi Vivo specials will be much rarer, with Volkswagen South Africa stating that only 2,000 examples will be made.

The Citi Vivo is based on the 74bhp/55kW 1.4 Conceptline entry-level model. In addition, the Citi Vivo gains white-painted 15-inch ‘Lakeside’ alloy wheels, door mirror caps, door handles and tailgate release, all of which evoke the image of the Citi Golf, helped by the extensive white ‘CiTi’ decals along the sides and across the rear hatch. Extra equipment also includes an alarm, cruise control, front electric windows as well as front fog lights.

Best-selling passenger car
The Polo Vivo was introduced in 2010, and has been the best-selling passenger car in South Africa for the past six years, with 229,300 hatchback and saloon models finding homes. In 2016 alone, 28,830 Polo Vivos were delivered to customers, and the car has the best resale value in its class. The Citi Golf’s popularity meanwhile was in part gained from the quirky and humorous television and print adverts that told a uniquely South Africa story.

‘There is no better way to celebrate the success of the Polo Vivo as the best-selling passenger car in South Africa than to pay homage to its iconic predecessor, Citi Golf. The three colours of Red, Yellow and Blue are synonymous with the Citi Golf and it was fitting for us to use them as the only colours for Citi Vivo,’ said Stefan Mecha, Director, Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Group South Africa.

The Citi Vivo is available to order now and costs R177,300. For more information, visit the Volkswagen South Africa website.

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11 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Special edition Polo Vivo
set to take the market by Storm?

2016 Volkswagen Polo Vivo Storm (South Africa)

Volkswagen South Africa has once again struck on the popularity of its Polo Vivo model by introducing a new special edition, the Storm. Based on the 1.4-litre 84bhp/63kW Trendline, the Storm costs R187 300 (including VAT and emission tax) and includes equipment and special styling to differentiate it from the numerous standard versions of Volkswagen South Africa’s budget Polo offering.

Prominent change
Outside, black metallic 15-inch ‘Tosa’ alloy wheels jostle for attention with the ‘Storm’ body decals, gloss black mirror caps, front fog lights with chrome surrounds and chrome-tipped exhaust pipes. Inside, a two-tone grey and ‘ceramique’ dashboard is the most prominent change, while a leather trimmed steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and handbrake lever are also standard.

Special features
Other special features include an anthracite-coloured roof lining, and exclusive three-tone seat upholstery. As standard, the Polo Vivo Storm is fitted with a CD radio system with Bluetooth and SD card connectivity, and six speakers. The Storm joins the GTS as one of the most distinctive Vivo models available.

The Storm follows an announcement in September that Volkswagen South Africa is to also manufacture the Polo Vivo in Kenya, expanding production to cope with the demand the popular car has. Continually a best-seller since its introduction in 2010 when it replaced the CitiGolf, the Polo Vivo is based on the facelifted Series 4 Polo which was sold in Europe from 2005-2009.

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07 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Bestseller boost: Polo Vivo production to be expanded with Kenyan factory

Polo Vivo production to be expanded into Kenya

The most prolific bestseller in South Africa since its launch in 2010, the Polo Vivo is set to become even more popular with the announcement that production of the entry-level model will take place in Kenya from late 2016. An agreement with a local partner has been signed by Volkswagen as it looks to further its engagement in the Sub-Sahara region. A training centre will also be established with the support of the German government.

New production agreement
The new production agreement was signed today by the Kenyan Government and Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa in Nairobi. President of Kenya H E Uhuru Kenyatta was also in attendance. Volkswagen sees the move as an ‘important step towards engaging further in new emerging markets’. There is a historian link, too, as VW assembled the Beetle in Kenya in the 1960s.

The new production facility will be in the city of Thikia near Nairobi. Importer DT Dobie has been chosen as the partner to jointly realise the Kenyan venture, and the new Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) factory will be Volkswagen’s third facility in South Africa after the main Uitenhage plant and a local facility in Nigeria. Up to 5,000 Polo Vivos are expected to be manufactured in Kenya per year from 2017.

‘Successful Polo Vivo’
‘We are taking the successful Polo Vivo from South Africa to Kenya to leverage the enormous growth potential of the African automobile market and participate in its positive development. This compact model is the best-selling car in the Sub-Saharan region – so it is the ideal entry model for the promising Kenyan market,’ said Schaefer. ‘With this move, we are strengthening the brand’s overall position in Africa and taking an important step towards expanding our commitment in the region,’ he continued.

President Kenyatta commented: ‘The investment by the Volkswagen Group in Kenya is a key milestone in my administration’s determined push to grow the manufacturing base and industrialised the nation.’

A local training centre to qualify production workers and provide further training will also be established and will focus on the needs of the Volkswagen production team. Later, it is thought that the centre will provide basic training for young people in the region to learn general industrial skills, increasing employment opportunities. One of Africa’s emerging markets, Kenya plays a prominent role among East African nations and with a GDP of US$63 billion.

South African top-seller crown
In related news, the Polo Vivo kept its South African top-seller crown for August 2016, with 2702 units sold. The model has topped the charts for the whole of 2016 so far, and for many years previously since it replaced the Citi Golf in 2010. Based on the revised ‘9N3’ Polo first introduced in Europe during 2006, the Polo Vivo is available as a three or five-door hatchback and four-door booted saloon with 74bhp/84bhp 1.4-litre and 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engines.

For more details on the Polo Vivo, visit the Volkswagen South Africa website.

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15 March 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Perfectly packaged: Polo Vivo Xpress extends best-seller appeal to CV market

2016 Volkswagen Polo Vivo Xpress (South Africa)

The best-selling Volkswagen Polo Vivo’s appeal now extends to commercial customers with the launch of the Polo Vivo Xpress. Like the Mk 2 Polo van of the 1980s, the Polo Vivo Xpress is, you’ve guessed it, basically a Polo light commercial. However unlike the panelled Polo of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Vivo Xpress has rear doors and windows, like the fifth-generation Polo-based Polo Van on sale in Denmark.

Created locally
The Polo Vivo Xpress was created locally by Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director Thomas Schaefer, in response to requests from fleet owners for a small VW delivery vehicle. The van was put into production by the Engineering Division in Volkswagen South Africa’s Uitenhage factory.

The Polo Vivo Xpress has a 519kg payload and a loading capacity volume of 1,060 litres. Powered by a 1.4-litre 74bhp petrol engine and based on the entry-level Polo Vivo Conceptline, it looks little different to the standard car. Steel wheels earn cool points, while external pointers include the 15mm raised suspension and ‘Xpress’ badges.

Mesh partitioner
Inside, there’s a mesh partitioner between passengers and cargo, as well as hard wood flooring in the main load area. Standard equipment includes remote central locking with alarm and air conditioning, while cruise control, CD player, a rough road package (heavy duty shock absorbers and underbody guard) and 14-inch alloy wheels are optional.

Volkswagen South Africa states that the Polo Vivo Xpress has been homologated as a N1 Commercial Vehicle which will allow VAT registered customers to claim back VAT. The small van is priced at R163,700 (VAT and emissions tax included).

POLO VIVO GTS
As well as the launch of the Xpress, Volkswagen has replaced the previous Polo Vivo GT derivative with the Polo Vivo GTS. Sadly, no Porsche-like GTS features are standard, but buyers do get a 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. The Polo Vivo GTS also features a black-painted roof and mirrors, grey metallic 16-inch ‘Rivazza’ wheels, sports pedals, two-tone GTS body decals, and carpet mats with black piping and red stitching.

The Polo Vivo GTS is available in five colours: Pure White, Flash Red, Reflex Silver, Sunset Red and Pepper Gray. Prices start at R197,200 (VAT and emissions tax included).

The Polo Vivo was South Africa’s best-selling passenger car last year, with 31,384 units sold. Also the best-selling car in South Africa since it was launched in 2010, along wth the Polo Vivo hatchback, there is also a sedan version. Both cars are based on an improved variant of the 2002-2009 Polo sold in Europe.

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