Brian Joss –
The half-millionth Polo produced by Volkswagen in Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth, left the line on October 22 watched by the Premier of the Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle, the Deputy Premier of Lower Saxony Stefan Wenzel and the executive mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metro Danny Jordaan who were hosted by managing director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, Thomas Schaefer.
Mr Wenzel and a delegation comprising of 60 German business people, politicians and academics were in the Eastern Cape to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the twinning of Lower Saxony and the Eastern Cape and toured Volkswagen’s manufacturing factory in Uitenhage.
The Uitenhage factory supplies the Polo hatchback to all four-door, right-hand-drive markets, including Britain, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
“We have also exported over 390 000 vehicles since 2009, with the Uitenhage plant being the worldwide sole supplier of the Cross Polo derivative which coincidentally is the 500 000th vehicle to be manufactured today,” said Schaefer.
“Since being launched in the South African market in January 2010, the Polo has consistently been the second best-selling passenger model after Polo Vivo,” added Schaefer.
The Volkswagen Polo built at the Uitenhage manufacturing factory has received notable accolades, the most significant being the 2011 South African Car of the Year and 2010/2011 Japan Import Car of the Year.
“We are extremely proud to reach this milestone as 2015 also marks 40 years since the first Polo was manufactured in 1975 in Germany,” Schaefer pointed out.
The Uitenhage factory is scheduled to manufacture over 85 000 Polos in 2015.
The 500 000th Flash Red, Cross Polo, which was built in the Uitenhage factory, is destined for a customer in Austria.