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Driven: VW to increase Polo sales with GTI, Beats

Extra supply and launch of GTI, Beats to reverse declining Volkswagen Polo sales

Volkswagen logo30 Aug 2018

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) is hoping that extra supply and the launch of Beats and GTI variants will be enough to reverse its Polo light hatch’s declining sales.

 

Speaking to GoAuto this week at the Polo GTI and Beats national media launch in northern NSW, VGA passenger vehicles product manager Todd Ford explained that Polo stock levels are set to increase significantly next month as more supply arrives and the full range comes on stream.

 

“The response and the orders have been overwhelming,” he said. “It’s the stock shortage issue that really has been the frustration. Sales certainly haven’t reflected, not only the enquiry, but orders for the car.

 

“Customers are – a bit foreign for this segment of vehicle – actually waiting on cars … rather than moving onto the next one.

 

“As of next month, we’ve got more stock available, and we’re looking forward to powering on. You’ll see more reflective sales results if you give it to September and beyond. With the complete range, we’re very confident (next year) you’ll see the Polo back up in its rightful spot.”

 

Despite the launch of its sixth-generation model in March, sales of the Polo have taken a big hit this year, with 2422 examples sold to the end of July – a 37.1 per cent decrease over the 3852 deliveries made during the same period in 2017, a run-out year that saw volume shrink by 20.4 per cent.

 

As a result, the Polo has slipped to seventh place in the sub-$25,000 light-car segment, trailing the Hyundai Accent (9485 units), Mazda2 (6614), Toyota Yaris (5652), Suzuki Swift (4950), Honda Jazz (4523) and Kia Rio (4103).

 

Conversely, the recently-facelifted Golf has lifted its year-to-date volume by 21.1 per cent, good enough for fourth position in the sub-$40,000 small-car segment, but Mr Ford does not see the Polo losing sales to its larger sibling as an issue.

 

“I think we’re seeing in equal measure that we’re attracting, for both models, new customers to the range, but also (existing) customers from both (models) that still want that more city-focused car,” he said. “It’s working for both.”

 

While Mr Ford would not be drawn on sales targets for the GTI – including how much it will contribute to overall Polo volume – he indicated it will not be plagued by the same supply issues that impacted its predecessors at launch.

 

“We’ve got good stock of the new Polo GTI, so certainly not limited in any way,” he said. “Supply’s really good. It’s being built out of South Africa now … which is great for us, (because) we’ve got a significant voice out of that factory.

 

“We’re not really making any (sales) predictions, but this a performance type of car where the (level) of enquiry is strong and pre-orders. There’s a lot of excitement getting around that car.”

 

Mr Ford added that the Polo GTI is targeting warm hatches from the segment above, including the Mazda3 SP25 and Hyundai i30 SR, as well as traditional rivals, such as the Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTi.

 

Given its special-edition positioning, the Beats is limited to about 500 units, which Mr Ford said is a “significant (allocation) in global terms” for a Beats model.

 

“There’s already been a great response,” he added. “We’ve had it in dealerships for about a week now, and dealers are already selling out their allocations and getting a lot of interest.

 

“We’re having such demand for premium versions and premium equipment in Polo that (customers) are just excited and blown away by the Beats offer. We’re expecting them to move really quickly.”

 

As previously reported, the DSG-only GTI is priced from $30,990 before on-road costs, while the Beats checks in at $22,490 in manual from and $24,990 in DSG guise.

 

The Polo GTI is motivated by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 147kW of power from 4390 to 6000rpm and 320Nm of torque from 1450 to 4390rpm, while the Beats uses a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit that develops 85kW at 5500rpm and 200Nm from 2000 to 3500rpm.

 

While the GTI comes with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Beats instead has a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while its optional DSG gets an another gear.

 

With drive exclusively sent to its front wheels, the 1285kg GTI can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds, while the front-wheel-drive Beats requires 9.5s to hit triple figures.

 

Claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test for the GTI is 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres, while the Beats drinks 5.0L/100km in 1152kg DSG form and 5.1L/100km in 1116kg manual guise.

 

Carbon dioxide emissions have been tested at 140 grams per kilometre for the GTI, while the Beats emits 115g/km in DSG form and 116g/km in manual guise.

 

Standard equipment in the GTI includes 17-inch Milton Keynes alloy wheels, a Sport Select suspension, five driving modes, an extended electronic differential lock, power-folding side mirrors and static cornering lights.

 

Inside, Clark tartan cloth upholstery, a multi-function display, a leather sports steering wheel with paddle shifters, keyless entry and start, LED interior lighting, a six-speaker sound system and dual-zone climate control feature.

 

Meanwhile, the Beats commands a $3000 premium over the 85TSI Comfortline grade upon which it is based and comes with Beats badging on its B-pillars, dark-tinted rear-side and rear windows, a single bonnet stripe, Beats decals on its roof and bonnet, black side mirrors and 16-inch Torsby alloy wheels.

 

Inside, the Beats features a 300W six-speaker Beats sound system, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, satellite navigation, wireless smartphone charging, two-tone upholstery, front sport seats, Beats Audio-branded scuff plates and manual air-conditioning.

 

Both the GTI and Beats also include dusk-sensing halogen headlights, front foglights, LED daytime running lights (DRLs), LED tail-lights, an LED registration plate light, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, a 12V power outlet and matte Velvet Red trim.

 

Advanced driver-assist safety technologies in the pair extend to forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver fatigue detection, tyre pressure monitoring, a reversing camera, cruise control and six airbags.

 

The optional Driver Assistance package for both grades costs $1500 and adds adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, park assist and a proactive occupant protection system, while the Beats also picks up power-folding side mirrors.

 

Optional metallic and pearl-effect paint colours incur a $500 charge, while two additional option packages are on offer for the GTI.

 

Priced at $1900, the Sound and Vision package includes the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, satellite navigation, wireless smartphone charging and the 300W six-speaker Beats sound system.

 

The Luxury package costs $3900 and features Art Velour microfleece upholstery, heated front seats, LED headlights, 18-inch Brescia alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and dark-tinted rear side and rear window glass.

 

The Sound and Vision package is also now available on the 85TSI Comfortline grade, as is the R Line package that costs $1500 and adds 18-inch Sebring alloy wheels, a bodykit (bumpers, side skirts and spoilers) and a sports suspension, among other features.

 

2018 Volkswagen Polo Beats pricing*

Beats $22,490
Beats (a) $24,990

*Excludes on-road costs

 

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI pricing*

GTI (a) $30,990

*Excludes on-road costs


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