SA to become sole VW Polo manufacturer worldwide

Volkswagen South Africa’s Kariega Plant will assume sole responsibility for the supply of the Polo Hatch to all relevant global markets

Already responsible for all Polo GTI production, Volkswagen South Africa’s Kariega Plant outside of Gqeberha (formally Port Elizabeth) is poised to assume the role of sole global production hub for Volkswagen’s top-selling hatchback.

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Already a hive of activity on any given day, Volkswagen South Africa’s Kariega Plant is about to get even busier with both an all-new so-called ‘third model’ that is set to be added to the production line, and the imminent announcement that this facility will assume sole responsibility for the supply of the Polo Hatch to all relevant global markets, including left- and right-hand drive.

Related: Volkswagen Kariega Hits 1.5M Export Vehicles Milestone

Volkswagen’s Pamplona Plant in Spain has ceased production of Polo to tool up for a future all-electric ID model, meaning all versions of the still-popular Polo Hatch will now be assembled and shipped from Kariega. The largest current market for the Polo remains Germany.

Already the sole supplier of the Polo GTI, chairperson and managing director of the newly formed Volkswagen Group Africa, Martina Biene, has lauded the trust placed in the Kariega Plant and, in turn, has set a target of achieving a new production record in terms of vehicles produced here in the year. This also includes a Polo Vivo for the SA market. One out of every five vehicles that leaves this production line is a Vivo.

Of course, any production record is reliant on an uninterrupted supply of energy being fed into the plant. While Kariega is only affected by load-shedding once this break in supply reaches so-called stage five and above, Biene admits that given its new mandate, the assembly line simply cannot take the risk of losing a day’s worth of production (it takes the plant 24 hours to get back up to optimal operation after a power cut). To this end, VWSA has installed a backup generator station capable of delivering 16 megawatts of power on demand. Leased for R130m, it will cost in the region of R1.6m per day to run.

Related: Volkswagen Invests Massively for Sustainability Drive at Kariega

Biene confirmed that Polo will still play a key role in the VW Group until at least 2029, with the ever-changing landscape of regulations around internal combustion engines meaning this could well be extended. In the meantime, the introduction of the as-yet-unnamed, Polo-based ‘third model’ is exciting as it is the first ‘Africa-developed’ product for the brand, with no export expectations other than into the continent.

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The post Confirmed: SA to Become Sole VW Polo Manufacturer Worldwide appeared first on CAR Magazine.

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