Kariega, Eastern Cape - It’s no secret that the Volkswagen Polo and its older-generation Polo Vivo sibling are extremely popular with South African car buyers.
The two model line-ups are among the country’s best-selling passenger cars, only recently threatened by the new Toyota Corolla Cross.
But our Volkswagen Polos, which are built in VWSA’s Kariega assembly plant in the Eastern Cape, are also exported in large numbers.
The company announced on Tuesday that it had just produced its 1-millionth Polo for export. Locally-built Polos are exported to 38 countries and the milestone car that you see in the pictures is bound for the UK.
Interestingly Kariega is the only plant in the world that produces the Polo GTI.
The Volkswagen Polo has been built in SA since 1996, when the original Polo Classic sedan was launched here. It was followed in 1998 by the Polo Playa hatchback, which was a local creation that paired the front end of the Polo Classic with the body shell of the Seat Ibiza in order to reduce tooling costs, as the Classic was Seat based.
In 2002 VWSA introduced the fourth-generation Polo and this was the first model to be exported to overseas markets. This generation enjoyed an extended life, as the Polo Vivo until 2018, which effectively replaced the long-serving Citi Golf.
“Given the current climate, with the pandemic and the semi-conductor crisis, this milestone is an especially strong moment for VWSA,” said VWSA Managing Director Robert Cisek.
“VWSA is the biggest private employer in Nelson Mandela Bay and a significant player when it comes to exports from this region. As a corporate citizen in Kariega and the Bay, and as the VWSA family, we are proud to have achieved this milestone and we look forward to the next million mark. I would like to thank every employee who has contributed to this achievement.”