South Africa’s most loved car

Celebrating world Beetle day with a modern icon

Reuben Van Niekerk
VW Polo
VW Polo Vivo
Volkswagen Polo
World Beetle day

Worldwide Beetle Day was held on the 22nd of June and celebrated one of the world’s most popular cars, which sold millions of units during its production run. On this day back in 1934, the German government commissioned Volkswagen to develop a car for the people with specific criteria including having space for the whole family, being inexpensive to purchase, affordable to run and offering competitive fuel consumption.


The first prototypes were designed by engineer Ferdinand Porsche in that same year. Subsequently the Beetle became a motoring icon that to this day is loved by owners and enthusiasts across the globe.


The Beetle was followed by models like various generations of the Golf, but it is the Polo that has really taken over the segment that the Beetle started all those years ago. Today, the Volkswagen Polo boasts those same traits including low running costs, reliability and frugal fuel economy which has made this locally produced model a favourite with South African motorists for many years now.

Unlike the original VW Beetle that remained largely unchanged for decades, Volkswagen keeps improving the Polo to meet consumers needs and expectations in order to provide the highest levels of driver enjoyment as the needs of motorists evolve.

The first iterations of the Beetle back in 1938 were fitted with a 1.0-litre engine that delivered just 19kW of power. Later models were fitted with 1.3-litre engines that upped the power output to 30kW. Today the Volkswagen Polo is also fitted with a 1,0-litre engine, which boasts the latest in technology such as fuel injection and turbocharging resulting in a maximum output of 70kW. This allows the Polo to reach 100km/h in a little more than 10 seconds, where the original Beetle needed around 27 seconds to accomplish the same. The Beetle was extremely frugal for its era, sipping around 7,0 litres per 100km, but the Polo tops that and uses just 5,0 litres per 100km.

The Beetle’s interior is a bit spartan by today’s standards, although it has stood the test of time in terms of durability. The latest Polo is similar and finished with high quality materials that should be as durable in the long run as the original was. However, the Polo features the latest in terms of creature comforts and technology that ensures the highest level of comfort, safety, and enjoyment for occupants.

These two models are so similar in many respects yet so unique in others, however they are both true peoples cars, and fit the brief that was laid down back in 1934.

To find a Volkswagen Polo to suit your needs, make sure to visit and browse through our selection of new, as well as more than 10 000 pre-owned cars, all backed by our own dealer franchise consisting of more than 300 dealers.