VW aims for younger buyers with face-lifted Polo

Wolfsburg, Germany. The face-lifted Volkswagen Polo should win back lost ground with a new look, improved original equipment, sporty extras and more attractive prices, say VW executives.

Ralf Laudenbach, the Polo's project and marketing manager, says he believes the freshened model will attract more young buyers with its design and its new "sport line" equipment. VW aims to lower Polo customers' average age from the current 39 years.

The new base Polo model will cost 11,250 euros. Laudenbach believes the car will not steal sales from the VW's Fox small car, which begins at 8,950 euros.

He says that the Fox is targeted at 18-30-year-olds who are looking for a "maximum amount of car at a minimal price."

Last year VW suffered a 27.4 percent unit sales drop for the Polo in Germany, its main market. Unit sales continued to fall by a further 16.5 percent to only 17,522 units in the first quarter of 2005.

Laudenbach says the sales drop is a normal movement within a model cycle, and he remains optimistic. "The order situation for the Polo in April and May is significantly above plan, " he says.

The new Polo is already available at dealers with a choice of nine gasoline and diesel engines.

Diesel particulate filters will be available as an option beginning in early 2006.

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