VW’s India chief ruled out local manufacturing of the new Polo, but hinted that the GTI hot hatch version could be imported in limited numbers.
The Volkswagen Polo GTI hot hatch was originally debuted in India in late 2016, and it’s possible that the nameplate may return. Though the Polo’s current manufacture in India has ceased, the newer, sixth-generation Polo, which is presently on sale elsewhere, could be introduced to Indian purchasers as a full import in 200hp-plus GTI form. Though VW India’s brand director, Ashish Gupta, ruled out local manufacture of the current Polo, he did imply that the company was considering a limited-run launch of the GTI.
- Current Polo in India bows out
- No plans to manufacture regular, sixth-gen Polo
- Limited volume import of 200hp-plus GTI variant being evaluated
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New Volkswagen Polo GTI: India Launch through CBU Route
The fifth-generation Polo-based GTI was priced at Rs 25.99 lakh when it was debuted almost five years ago. The hot hatch was introduced in a three-door body type and had a 192hp 1.8-litre TSI turbo-petrol engine with a top speed of 233kph and a claimed 0-100kph time of 7.2 seconds.
The Polo GTI, which was only available in limited quantities as a CBU (fully built-up unit), saw fast sales after the price was dropped by a full Rs 6 lakh following an adjustment in tax rates with the adoption of GST in mid-2017.
Other limited-volume, high-price imports from Volkswagen, such as the T-Roc (started at Rs 19.99 lakh and eventually marked up to Rs 21.35 lakh) and Tiguan Allspace (released at Rs 33.12 lakh), have enjoyed success in recent years. Price, though, does not appear to be a barrier these days, particularly for companies with a high worldwide recall value.
As such, Volkswagen India is mulling the launch of the new Polo GTI under the government’s 2,500-unit homologation-free rule for CBU imports.
New Volkswagen Polo GTI: Engine, Gearbox, Performance Details
Though the PQ25 platform-based fifth-generation Polo has continued to be sold in India over the years, the hatchback was upgraded to the company’s current MQB A0 architecture for worldwide markets in 2018, with a full generation shift. VW has dropped the three-door model from the Polo lineup as a result of this.
In 2021, this international-spec model received a facelift that brought its look and style in line with those of its larger sibling, the Golf. The current GTI version of the hatchback is powered by a 2.0-litre TSI engine with 204 horsepower and a claimed 0-100kph time of 6.5 seconds. A 7-speed DCT auto gearbox and an electronic differential still send power to the front wheels.
New Volkswagen Polo India Production Ruled Out
While the idea of importing the new GTI is thrilling, confirmation that the new Polo, in its more economical basic incarnation, will not be made in India will undoubtedly be a disappointment to the enormous base of Polo lovers.
The market for other model types has dwindled as consumer interest swings to SUVs, and VW has made it plain in the past that its primary focus is on its ‘SUVW’ strategy, which has recently seen the brand debut the Taigun and locally built Tiguan SUVs.
Furthermore, government regulations have had a significant impact on the hatchback segment, according to Ashish Gupta. “The sub-4m rule is essentially putting the segment out of business. Making a business case for global items and bringing them under the sub-4m category is nearly challenging. As a result, it’s a significant barrier for any producers that don’t have India-specific products,” he explained.
The previous Polo slid under the 4m mark with ease, but the current model extends the tape to 4.053m. This will result in the vehicle being placed in a higher tax bracket, potentially pricing it out of the segment. It’s also not feasible to reduce the overall length to less than 4mSnipping what may seem a miniscule 5cm involves re-engineering the bumpers, developing new production tools and undergoing fresh crash test validation, which is a very costly exercise.
“It’s virtually a new [product] development. Then it wouldn’t make a business case for us, and more importantly, for the customers,” commented Gupta.
What do you think about VW reintroducing the Polo moniker in India, even if it’s in the form of the imported GTI model? Let us know in the comments below.
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