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VW planning to sell 2 versions of Polo compact in U.S.

Mon, 16 Mar 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Volkswagen plans to sell two versions of its Polo compact car in the United States: a sedan smaller than the current Jetta and a four-door hatchback roomier than the one shown this month at the Geneva auto show.

Both versions would be designed especially for the United States, said Volkswagen Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby. Sales could start in 2011, he said.

Jacoby spoke to Automotive News at the Geneva auto show, where VW unveiled its redesigned Polo hatchback.

Though larger than its predecessor, the fifth-generation Polo is still too small for the American market, Jacoby said.

He said a U.S. version would be taller and sit on a longer wheelbase than the European model.

"It's more like a cross between a compact minivan and a hatchback. In other words, it's more like the Honda Fit," Jacoby said.

A 2009 Honda Fit four-door hatchback with a base model 1.4-liter engine starts at $15,420. The similar-sized Toyota Yaris four-door hatchback starts at $14,025. Both prices include freight. The Yaris also comes as a sedan.

Jacoby said the Polo must be priced between $13,000 and $15,000 in the United States. For that price to be possible, VW will have to produce the car in North America, he said, probably at VW's factory in Puebla, Mexico.

On pricing, Jacoby said: "We have to come in at the sweet spot of this market or else it makes no sense — and we come too close to the Jetta."




By April Wortham-Automotive News