Volkswagen do Brasil has confirmed that its new compact car code named PQ24 is the new Polo, first details of which have just been announced in Germany, writes Rogério Louro Alves.

Production of the Brazilian-made PQ24/new Polo will start in February 2002 at VW's Anchieta plant, in São Bernardo do Campo city, São Paulo state, ready for launch at the beginning of the second half of next year.

Volkswagen do Brasil has not confirmed the engines that will power the new compact car in Brazil. But it is certain that the Polo will have the new 76bhp one-litre 16-valve unit launched this month in the locally-made Gol range.

Until now, the locally-developed Gol has filled the Polo's sector in Brazil's VW range and the previous Polo itself was sold only as the 1.8-litre Classic saloon, and not in hatchback or estate forms; the latter sector is served by the Gol's estate cousin, the Parati.

Despite planning to launch the new Polo, VW Brazil will keep the Gol, the top selling vehicle in Brazil for 14 years, in production. The older model will be repositioned as VW's entry level compact car and the new Polo will be the brand's top model compact.

To produce the new Polo in Brazil, Volkswagen has invested $US 700 million since 1999 to rebuild the assembly line at its Anchieta plant. The Anchieta plant was the first large car maker's factory in Brazil and began producing the Volkswagen Kombi in 1957, adding the Beetle two years later.

Today, the plant still produces the Kombi in old rear-engine Series 2 form, the Santana sedan and its Quantum station wagon derivative (obsolete everywhere else except China), the Gol hatch and the Gol-based Saveiro pick-up.

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