Volkswagen group plans to build more than 1 million supermini models annually off the same platform, with a single German source for the structural stampings.
The PQ24 small-car platform is already used by the group's Skoda Fabia. The new VW Polo is the second model. Next will be the new Seat Ibiza and Cordoba in 2002.
All versions will be based on the same rigid-platform steel structure. The floorpan and side members will be stamped at VW's plant in Kassel, Germany. The stampings will be shipped from Germany to VW, Seat and Skoda assembly plants on four continents.
'Because narrow body panel gaps are part of our quality standards, it is essential that structural platform stampings are produced to very tight tolerances,' said Horst Konig, project leader for the Polo.
Development time for the new Polo was 34 months. Development costs were E220 million, plus E270 million for tooling at suppliers, and E480 million to upgrade production facilities.
'The procurement costs cover the investments made by the suppliers to whom we outsourced development,' Konig said. 'But by paying these costs, VW retains the right to buy relevant components from suppliers other than those who actually developed them.'
The new Polo will be produced at VW's dedicated plant in Pamplona, Spain, at a daily rate of 1,450 units. Another 650 units per day will be built in VW's plant in Bratislava, Czech Republic.
Besides 400,000 Polos a year in Europe, VW intends to build another 250,000 Polos annually in China, South Africa and Brazil.