Polo waiting game
It’s coming, but don’t hold your breath, writes PAUL GOVER
NOW they see it, now you don’t. Production of the new Volkswagen Polo won’t get under way for months after its first appearance last week at the Geneva Motor Show.
And there is no point rushing to your local dealer in pursuit of the impressive new model because the cars bound for Australia will not come down the production line in South Africa until late this year.
That means it will be more than a year before the good-looking new German supermini is ready for sale in Australia, even though it has already been unveiled in Europe.
‘‘We won’t see the car until early in 2010,’’ Volkswagen Group Australia’s Karl Gehling says.
‘‘The schedule hasn’t been finalised so we cannot pin down the exact date. That’s as good as it gets on timing, for the moment.’’
But the Polo timing has slipped from the Golf, which reached Australia less than six months after the first sales in Europe.
‘‘It comes down to when we can get a production slot. We’re a bit further down the list with Polo than with Golf,’’ Gehling says.
The new Polo comes quickly after the latest Golf with the same promises on everything from engines to equipment. It is the fifth Polo generation, one short of the Golf line.
‘‘We’re looking at value, safety and fuel economy,’’ Gehling says. ‘‘It’s a continuation of the Golf six strategy. So we’re downsizing the engines, introducing DSG, looking at equipment levels.’’
The Polo preview at Geneva came with details of new 1.2-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel engines, as well as a BlueMotion II concept car promising better than 5 litres for 100km fuel consumption and only 87g of CO2 a kilometre.
The new car is 7.5 per cent lighter than the car in Australian showrooms despite being marginally longer and wider, and Volkswagen also promises a stronger body for better quality and safety. Head, shoulder and legroom in the cabin have all been improved.
The new engines are claimed to be much more efficient but there is no confirmation of the powerplants for Australia.
The downsized 1.2-litre TSI petrol motor is almost certain, though, and so is the 1.6-litre common-rail diesel. On the gearbox front, all of the new Polos have five or six-speed manuals, with the optional seven-speed DSG.
The new Polo will come with electronic stability control as standard, to ensure a five-star NCAP safety rating, four airbags and anti-skid brakes in all cars. Volkswagen Group Australia has no plans for an early runout on the current Polo, still value priced from $16,990.
‘‘We won’t have any change, and we’ll carry our normal stock levels, until the changeover next year,’’ Gehling says.