Volkswagen Polo could survive with petrol power until 2030

The Volkswagen Polo could be on sale for another five years, having been given a stay of execution by the relaxation of upcoming European emissions legislation.

Initial proposals for the Euro 7 emissions regulations, which were due to be introduced this year, were set to kill off Volkswagen’s supermini because the cost of making it compliant would have obliterated its profitability.

In 2022, Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer told Autocar that it made “no sense to go with very small cars beyond EU7”, because – according to his estimations – the rules would have added “3000, 4000 or 5000 pounds or more” to the cost of a Polo-sized car. 

Those rules, though, were heavily watered down by EU lawmakers last year, in response to widespread criticism from the car industry about the added development and homologation costs it would incur. 

The revised ‘EU6e’ ruleset, Schäfer said, is “not as crazy it was posited initially”, and as a result, “Polo will carry on”. 

The new rules, which come into effect on 1 September 2024, impose the same emissions limits for cars and vans as the Euro 6 rules, and so have little impact on the cost of homologating the Polo.

So the Renault Clio rival can survive “definitely until the end of this decade I would say,” according to Schäfer.

“We will keep it fresh,” he said, hinting at a substantial round of updates in the medium-term to bring it into line technologically with newer range-mates. 

“The car runs well – it is a good entry into the brand.”

However, it is not just emissions rules that threaten the Polo’s commercial viability, he added. 

“EU7 has been done in a reasonable way; it adds costs to the vehicle but not too crazily. What adds cost tremendously is GSR2 – General Safety Regulation 2 – [which mandates] interior cameras and a couple of things you need to add to the platform, so that is the real complication but we did it now across the brands and I think we can carry on.”

The Polo is currently priced from £20,700 in entry-level Life trim, some £445 more than the closely related Skoda Fabia and around £3000 more than its Renault rival, but it remains by far the cheapest model in the Volkswagen family, with the Up now retired and its T-Cross sibling commanding a £3000 premium.

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