MUNICH -- Volkswagen will add more Polo variants when the fifth-generation of the small-segment car arrives between 2008 and 2009.
According to industry and company sources, there will be three new versions of the next Polo:
- A three-door, coupe-style vehicle
- A high roof, five-door version based on the Roomster, which is sold by Czech sister brand Skoda
- A five-seat minivan called the Polo MPV to fight the Opel Meriva.
The Polo is the VW brand's No. 3 seller in Europe after the Golf lower-medium and Passat upper-medium cars. It is No. 5 in Europe's small-car segment. (See table)
Other members of family
Currently, VW offers the Polo as a three- or five-door hatchback, and in some markets as a four-door sedan.
VW also offers the CrossPolo, which has body side cladding that gives it an SUV-like appearance as well as the fuel-sipping Polo BlueMotion and the high-performance Polo GTI.
VW executives believe the Polo needs more variants to make the car more attractive in the growing small-car segment and to position it against stronger competitors such as the new Renault Clio, Peugeot 207 and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa.
Mark Fulthorpe, director of European forecasts at analyst CSM Worldwide's London office, said VW's move to diversify its small-car lineup is further proof that niche vehicles will be important to boost sales in the future.
"If traditional western European automakers continue to lose share to Japanese and Korean manufacturers," Fulthorpe said, "then they are going to have to be the leaders in terms of niche development."
Henning Krogh contributed
You may e-mail Jason Stein at [email protected]