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Volkswagen on a baby Fox hunt

Stylish: The Fox’s good looks should help it sell here, argues the local distributor.

Baby car Volkswagen Fox has real prospects of going on sale in Australia

23 Apr 2004

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia could have a $16,000 mini-car on sale in Australia by the end of 2005.

The model is known as the Fox in Brazil where it has been designed and is built, but has also been referred to under its VW codename Tupi.

Brazil would not necessarily be its production source for Australia, with China and South Africa also candidates.

Fox is based on the current Polo platform and will replace VW’s Lupo city car in Europe. The Lupo was never sold in Australia.

It is sold in Brazil as a three-door and a five-door. It is expected to go on sale in Europe in 2005 with a choice of petrol and diesel engines ranging in capacity from 1.2 to 1.6-litres.

VGA managing director Peter Nochar told GoAuto that the likelihood of Fox making it to Australia had strengthened and then weakened – and now was looking good again.

"It was on for Australia and it was off for Australia and the guys who went to a recent product meeting (in Germany) came back and said ‘it’s back on again’," he said.

"At the end of the day it’s whether it can comply with all the ADR rules.

3 center image"It is going to be produced in China and South Africa and it will depend on whether they are prepared to build right-hand drive versions in either of those places."Mr Nochar expects a decision will come soon enough for the car to be on sale here before the end of 2005.

He said that to make Fox work it would be ideal that it had a 20 per cent price gap to Polo, which starts at $19,990.

"But if it had to live with a 12-15 per cent advantage it would still be significant," he said. "It’s not a bad looking car."Mr Nochar said much of the internal debate about Fox within VGA centred on whether it was appropriate to go so far down-market when it was trying to stretch up-market as well with Touareg and Phaeton.

"The ones in favour say it is a good way because it brings people into the brand. Their first car is a small car and they have a good experience and trade up through, and they become followers of the brand," Mr Nochar said.

"The other thing is if you are in a showroom buying a V10 Touareg and this thing is in there at $15,990, you kind of think ‘are these guys in the upper end of the business or are they back in the bargain basement.

"So there are arguments both ways."

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