Thursday, June 1, 2023

Why Volkswagen “killed” the Polo: a story of marketing, money, profit and power

After four decades, the Volkswagen chain of Navarre will stop manufacturing the Polo, whose first unit saw the light of day in Pamplona in 1984. The exact date is not yet known – March or April 2024 seems the most likely moment – but it knows the announcement, the work of undertaking work to prepare the electric launch, will have real consequences for the services and activities of the main center of Navarre.

Poles don’t really die. They move her slowly and kill her, although everything indicates that the half century of her life will be celebrated in 2025. But it will do so in a plant in South Africa, which takes the production of one of the most popular cars in Europe; that it lived the moment of its glory between 2009 and 2011, but that in recent years it has lost the market in favor of new competitors, even from the brand itself: other models have taken their place in the customer’s preferences and in the production line of Volkswagen and other manufacturers. .

The progressive decline in Polo production, which took place in 2011 with 356,356 units, is not accidental. In the middle of the last decade, manufacturers have already realized that their commercial strategies need to change and that the vehicles that have passed through history are approaching the end of their lives. Turning the page on the minivans, they had seen torches in those who were born when Polo began his journey in Pamplona.

Millennials were then about 28-30 years old and it was time to buy a new car with their studies. nor would they be left to those who would adapt to the market. From this thought SUVs are born, which are not heavy SUVs, but neither are narrow utility vehicles; which incorporate more space, of greater strength, and elevate the ruler, placing him in a position of mastery and direction. A new concept of the times was born, who is neither meat nor fish, but who fights in passion. Behind the wheel the driver feels more secure and powerful. And we must not forget that the car continues to be, above all, an object of aspirational consumption.

A successful and useful T-Cross

Volkswagen’s bet was the small hatchback T-Cross, presented in October 2018 and whose success began to count brilliantly in the Polo. Emilio Sáenz, then president of Volkswagen Navarre, explained in Amsterdam, with the press during the presentation ceremony, that the last reason why the T-Cross was called by Polo. Not only was the new car cute, stylish, stylish and fresh, it elevated the small Tiguan segment. Polo was even more useful. Each car was left at the factory with a profit margin of about 900 coins.

This is how VW moved part of its Polo production to South Africa four years ago, starting with right-hand drive cars. The Uitenhage plant, whose costs are much lower, has gradually improved its facilities and the training of its workers. Today it can take productions to markets that are already very demanding.

This plan in 2021 with the launch of the Taigo, an SUV with a sporty air, has already been found in the accounts of Volkswagen Navarra, which in 2022 achieved a net of 87.4 million euros, the highest in its history in a year. modest types, discontinuance, supply days, frequency of cessation. With fewer cars, the VW Navarra plant is now more profitable.

It’s not just a question of price – any T-Cross costs between 3,000 and 4,000 euros more than a Polo – but of margin. Inside, both are similar cars, share a good number of major suppliers and offer significant cost savings. From the outside, however, they appear very different and therefore appeal to a wider customer profile.

A major doubt

But providers have limits. And, according to factory management, they are currently unable to provide parts to make more than 1,200 T-Crosses and Taigos per week, enough to fill five full days of production. That, however, does not convince the whole council. “Since the removal of the Poles is known, we do not believe that this was a multinational providence”, for example from the CGT.

With the Polo, of which nearly 8.5 million units have already been manufactured in Landaben, the age also closes. One in which the Navarre plant was a certain portion of the leader, the Volkswagen small car, a situation that from 2026, when Skoda vehicles will begin to assemble, will no longer be real. Because Martorell has been assigned the same platform for small electric cars and, in the absence of electrification plans for Seat, the VW brand will manufacture vehicles from 2016. “Our seats have begun to enter our borders,” said a member of the council of works these days.

And so in part due to the decision of the Volkswagen group, which earned 15.8 billion euros in 2022, it is highly doubtful. In December, it was announced that Cupra, a brand called by Sede in electrics, will make Tavascan in China, with a price of about 60,000 coins in Europe. The opportunity to seek Martorell, which wants to build cars of better value, and which in the rebound hurts Landaben, which wants to assemble some 350,000 cars by 2027 to complete its work steps.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the VW brand, Thomas Schaefer, hinted a few days ago about the future Polo once electrified. Its name will certainly be accompanied by the ID1, an electric car for only 20,000 European coins that the group wants to send around the year 2027 or 2028 and whose manufacturer has not yet been assigned. India, as it is now, the pole of combustion, will be a growing part. “It doesn’t matter where you produce the car, be it Germany, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe. What matters is that it takes you at most 15 hours to build it,” explained Schaefer. Polo would therefore live in its electric version, but far from Pamplona.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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