Volkswagen South Africa marked the production of its 400 000th Polo at its factory at Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape last month, with demand for the car being boosted by an earlier export order destined for Europe. Launched in South Africa in 1996, the second-generation Polo is top of the Ao hatch segment for the year to date, with a 19.8% market share.
“In addition, over the past two years, the Polo brand has claimed the title of South Africa’s most popular passenger car with sales far outnumbering its nearest rivals,” VW South Africa said in a statement last week.
Approximately 70 000 Polo hatchbacks have been exported to countries in the Asia Pacific region since 2002, while the company also secured an order for an addition 6 000 units for export to Germany.
“The new generation of this successful Volkswagen marquee will arrive in South African showrooms in 2010, having just been launched into the European market,” VWSA said.
Volkswagen South Africa said earlier this year that 40% of its total planned production volume in 2009 would be exported. Its initial export of vehicles occurred in the early 1990s with the clinching of an export deal for 12 500 left-hand drive Jettas destined for China. It then proceeded to win orders for third-generation Golf GTIs to the United Kingdom, a significant order for fourth-generation Golfs to Europe and, in 2004, started exporting Polos and new Golfs to the Asia Pacific region.
Following on its Jetta export heritage, the company secured the order to export the latest Jetta model in May last year to countries including Australia, Japan and Great Britain.