Polo wait­ing game

It’s com­ing, but don’t hold your breath, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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