Volkswagen builds off-road-ready Polo for Brazilian farmers

This farm-focused hatchback is designed for agricultural use in a market where the Polo is Volkswagen’s top seller.

The Volkswagen Polo Robust has been announced in Brazil – the largest market in South America – designed for use on farms across the country.

The sixth-generation Polo is the German car maker’s best-selling model in the country, and was beaten only by the Fiat Strada mini dual-cab for the title of the most popular car overall in 2023.

The effectively-named Polo Robust hatchback joins Volkswagen’s Saveiro and Amarok utes in its model line-up designed for off-road use, the Robust name used previously on the Saveiro Robust edition in 2020.

The new Polo edition brings raised front and rear suspension for increased ground clearance over rough terrain, while two option packages are intended to make the Polo Robust even more farm-friendly.

The first pack adds external grille protectors, vinyl seat covers and rubber floor mats; a second adds a luggage compartment rubber mat and a tow bar.

The Robust appears based on the low-cost front-wheel-drive Polo Track introduced to Brazil in 2023 – a stripped-out version of the regular Polo, to cut the price – which replaced the Volkswagen Gol as the brand’s cheapest small car.

The chunkier bumpers front and back, steel wheels and tinted tail-lights on the Robust are the same as those featured on the Polo Track.

The Robust is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder ‘flex-fuel’ engine matched with a five-speed manual transmission, with no automatic option.

The term ‘flex-fuel’ refers to the Polo’s ability to run on either petrol and/or lower-emission ethanol ‘bio-fuel’ blends – owners in Brazil can decide at the pump.

More than 2 million new vehicles were sold in Brazil in 2023, making it the region’s largest market – considerably larger than Australia’s 1.2-million sales – yet it did not get close to its 2012 peak of 3.6 million.

Volkswagen’s market share increased to 15.8 per cent in 2023, with 345,000 vehicles sold, second to Fiat’s 23.1 per cent.

In February 2024, the German car maker announced plans to invest a further $US1.83 billion ($AU2.76 billion) in the Brazilian market, aiming to grow sales by 40 per cent by 2027 with a mix of fuel-flex, hybrid and electric vehicles.

The same month, Fiat also announced a number of new vehicles, including an ‘urban-sized’ pick-up designed specifically for Latin America.

The Italian brand – part of the larger Stellantis Group – said in March 2024 it would invest $US6.07 billion ($AU9.16 billion) in Brazil by 2030, where it has three factories.

Volkswagen has four factories in Brazil – where it has operated for 71 years – and is the nation’s largest automotive exporter.

The post Volkswagen builds off-road-ready Polo for Brazilian farmers appeared first on Drive.

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