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.

4 thoughts to “The Curious Case of VW Polo – 10 years and counting in India!”

  1. Adding 2019 to the graph with only 7 months of sales doesn’t reflect the true situation. you should at least have created an annual prediction to use for comparison, which would have been circa 2-2,500 below 2018.

  2. The Polo/Vento/Rapid all have a timeless design that (in my eyes) doesn’t seem to age, yes the current ones are getting long in the tooth now but find me another clean design like these. The solid build quality and the driving dynamics are also it’s sweet points. VW/Skoda’s aftersales experience in India has always remained mediocre so that’s why I say if it was a Maruti product with it’s soild aftersales experience, these would’ve sold in huge numbers despite their age.

  3. In Europe, Golf and Passat are considered strength of their portfolio. They should have brought in Golf to strengthen the lineup much before Passat which was very late in itself. More models increase footfalls and in turn increase sales. German brand is one thing and luxury brand is another, VW is a mass market brand and tried to project themselves as luxury brand by constantly saying German and scared away lot of potential customers. Customer reach is an important factor in Indian market together with affordable after sales service which is a weakness for all VW group brands as they have to import some of the parts.

  4. German’s never allow you to claim insurance.
    Take a maruti car[Shift] pick your speed and go and crash it. if the speed selected by you helps you to survive then do the same with Polo.
    List down the spare parts you needed to change…then say which is the best brand.
    I have seen People survived crashes in POLO.
    This is where the quality of the German’s stand.

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