The Curious Case of VW Polo – 10 years and counting in India!

Volkswagen had made the India debut of Polo during the 2010 Auto Expo. The car made a perfect case for VW to strengthen its hold in the hatchback-oriented Indian market and allowed many consumers to step in the VW brand with their purchases. The model had created new benchmark in terms of build quality and its automatic gearbox is still the favorite among the enthusiasts. Polo was also the first made-in-India car to receive a 4-star safety rating from Global NCAP, when the dual-airbag equipped variant was initially crash-tested in 2014 under the Safer Cars for India initiative.

Worldwide, Polo has sold over 14 million units and has been the best selling VW in India. Polo receives 45 percent of first-time buyers with a strong preference towards the GT TSI variant, which comes with  DSG gearbox.

Polo though started off really well in the Indian market; started losing ground year after year since 2011. The volumes has seen a consistent decline and the decelerating trend should really be a matter of concern for VW. Do note that VW has been able to sell 2,58,772 units of Polo since inception till date in the Indian market and the highest number of Polo’s sold in a month was 4,579 units (in January 2013).

Monthwise Sales Volumes - VW Polo
Monthwise Sales Volumes – VW Polo



A look at the yearly sales trend for the model –

Decelerating Volumes Year on Year for Polo
Decelerating Volumes Year on Year for Polo

So what really went wrong for the model –

  • No major product changes (exterior/interior) since inception. The refreshes that the model saw was minor and no significant changes seen till date when compared to the original 2010 offering.
  • VW Brand’s perception – The Total Cost of Ownership perceived for VW models were always higher. Higher cost of maintenance coupled with lower mileage figures proved heavy on the consumers pockets.
  • Lower Resale Value for the Polo further pulled down the brands acceptance.