Volkswagen finally unveiled its new sub-compact Polo sedan in Moscow today, billing it as the first ever VW developed specifically for the Russian market. While Russia may be the first market for the trunked Polo, it isn't likely to have an exclusive on it for long. The Polo sedan is expected to make its way to North America within the next 12 months as part of VW's drive to expand its sales here to 800,000 units a year by 2018.
Like Americans, Russians consumers have generally had a preference for notchbacks over hatchbacks despite the sacrifices in utility. In an effort to keep the Polo sedan affordable in Russia, Volkswagen is equipping it with a 103-horsepower 1.6-liter gasoline inline four-cylinder engine with a choice of five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
When the Polo arrives in the U.S., it will likely offer either this combination or the 1.2-liter turbocharged, direct injected TSI four- cylinder that we drove in Germany last fall.
A first: a Polo specially developed for the Russian market
Moderate pricing: quality and reliability for a wide circle of customers
Wolfsburg / Moscow, 02 June 2010 - While advance sales began for the Polo produced in Kaluga, Russia, the world premiere took place before 200 high-ranking guests in Moscow today. For the first time in the history of the brand, a vehicle has been developed specially for the Russian market, bearing in mind its specific climate and street conditions.
Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Brand with responsibility for Development, says: "The new Polo Saloon does not only fulfil the highest standards of modern automotive engineering. The efficient technologies, outstanding active and passive safety and the traditional high quality of workmanship and materials are groundbreaking for this class. In conjunction with the timeless design, a level has been reached that is unprecedented in this segment and this market."
Frank Wittemann, Head of the Volkswagen Brand in Russia: "The new Saloon extends Volkswagen's range of vehicles und builds a bridge from our bestsellers in Russia, the Passat and the Jetta, to the small familiy car segment. With it, an even greater number of friends of our brand can choose a vehicle according to their taste and possibilities. The new vehicle complies with the global quality standards of Volkswagen in every respect, while being very attractive in terms of price: The Polo Saloon is being offered at a price from just a bit over 10,000 euros and up."
The new Saloon is being built on a completely new assembly line at Volkswagen AG's plant in Kaluga. The Volkswagen Polo is equipped with a new 1.6-litre Otto engine (77 kW / 105 PS). It can be combined with a 5-gear manual gearbox or a 6-gear automatic gearbox with sequential shift function (Tiptronic). Hence Volkswagen is the first automobile manufacturer offering their Russian customers such an up-to-date automatic gearbox in this vehicle class.
A high level of safety is ensured already in the Trendline basic version-two airbags, head rests and three-point seat belts for all five passengers. From Comfortline and up, the Polo is equipped with ABS as standard. In the Highline top version, additional safety systems are integrated that are normally unavailable in this class-for instance: side air-bags and ESP.
The specific demands of Russian drivers and the climate and street conditions in Russia have both been carefully taken into account during the new Saloon's development: long-term tests were conducted in different climate zones, and the street conditions in the most variegated regions in Russia were examined. The available petrol qualities were tested repeatedly as well. Thus the vehicle has been equipped with an up-to-date and reliable engine that is ideally suited to those operating conditions prevailing in Russia, a galvanised, non-corrosive body and a wheel suspension geared to bad roads. Particularly robust paints were used for the car's paint job, and the chrome parts are also highly resistant to aggressive agents.