Officials launch the Polo sedan replacement in Sao Paulo

Officials launch the Polo sedan replacement in Sao Paulo

Volkswagen has launched a new compact sedan called Virtus in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The new model, developed especially for South America, replaces the Polo sedan, is based on the MQB modular platform and is claimed to be among the most spacious cars in its segment.

The Virtus is only a little smaller than the current Jetta and is part of the brand's largest model offensive in Brazil. By 2020, 20 new models will be launched, of which 13 will be produced in Brazil where the automaker is spending about EUR1.8bn.

Last week, the company announced spending of EUR560m for a new SUV model in Argentina with production from 2020.

"The new models, which will be precisely tailored to customers' wishes, will be quality and technology leaders in the volume segment," claimed sales chief Jurgen Stackmann.

"Over the next few years, we will be doing everything in our power to take VW back to the lead in the largest South American automobile market."

VW claims the new sedan, 4.84m long, sets class standards for technology, conductivity, comfort, spaciousness and performance and is both the first VW model and the first car in South America to feature assistance systems using artificial intelligence to support the driver. This web-based function is the first result of cooperation between VW and the IBM IT group.

On a wheelbase of 2.65m, the Virtus offers space for five adults and a boot capacity of 521 litres.

"We are advancing in South America – and are renewing our model range in Brazil step by step. Following the presentation of the new Polo [hatchback] a few weeks ago, the Virtus is a further key element in our drive to take VW back to the lead in the region," said Pablo Di Si, head of VW's South America region and Brazil.

Like rivals, VW is modernising its range so that South America gets the same new models and updated safety and connectivity technology almost simultaneously with European releases. Following the Golf and the new Polo, the new Virtus is the third model in the Brazilian model offensive based on MQB technology. By 2020, they will be followed by a redesigned pickup truck model range and more locally produced SUVs. Volkswagen has spent about EUR660m modernising its Anchieta plant, about 20km south of Sao Paulo, to build Virtus and Polo.

Increasingly, the brand is transferring to the regions responsibilities which have previously been exercised centrally from Wolfsburg. The regions hold comprehensive responsibility for the entire spectrum of business – up to and including decisions on the model range. In addition to South America, responsibilities are being transferred to North America, China and the sub-Saharan region in Africa.

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