The current-generation Volkswagen Polo in India has been around for more 10 years now. However, it's still a favorite among enthusiasts for its solid build quality and fun-to-drive nature. And that's exactly the reason why enthusiasts can't stop yearning about the new-gen model that has been on sale in international markets since 2017. Well, our prayers may just be answered as Volkswagen is likely to bring the next-gen model to our shores by late-2022 or early-2023. There will, however, be a complete change in philosophy for the next-gen Polo in India.
Let's address the basics first. Like every other new Volkswagen model in India, the next-gen Polo will be underpinned by the heavily localized MQB-A0-IN platform. This platform is already underpinning the Volkswagen Taigun and it will also be underpinning the Volkswagen Vento replacement in India. Volkswagen will, however, have to modify the platform to under four metres to fit into the lesser tax bracket. The international-spec model is slightly longer than the sub-four meter barrier here in India.
Talking about the engine options, Volkswagen have said that their 1.0L TSI turbo-petrol engine is going to be the mainstay for the brand as part of their India 2.0 strategy. That means the 110hp/175Nm 1.0L three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine will continue with the next-gen Polo, as will the manual and automatic gearbox options. But what's more exciting is that Volkswagen could be plonking the larger 150hp/250Nm 1.5L TSI engine under the hood of the next-gen Polo in India in a top-spec GT variant. There are reports of it even being offered with a manual gearbox. We can imagine the kind of driver's delight this variant could possibly be.
And that brings us to its pricing. With the India 2.0 strategy, Volkswagen have repeatedly said that they want to maintain their premium positioning in the market. Although the next-gen Polo will be underpinned by a heavily localized platform, its prices are inevitably bound to go up by a considerable margin. With new design, more tech and features, and of course, the new 1.5L TSI engine, prices for the next-gen Polo could very well range between INR 8-12 lakh in India. Although that's quite a premium over the current-gen model, Gurpratap Boparai, MD Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, has said the “price point needs to be higher for the Polo (sixth-gen model) to enter”.
This, frankly, does not come as a surprise given that the new-gen Hyundai i20 goes up to INR 11.18 lakh (ex-showroom) for its top-spec model. Prices of premium hatchbacks have been on the rise and the i20 was the first model to cross the INR 10 lakh mark. Prices are likely to swell even further in the coming years with increasing input costs and taxes. Currently, the Polo is priced between INR 6.01 lakh and INR 9.92 lakh, similar to the Maruti Baleno. However, it captures less than 5% of the segment's market share. The new-gen model could finally make the Polo mainstream in India despite its higher positioning, just like the new i20.
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