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» We believe in the great potential «

Pablo Di Si, CEO of the South American Region, explains in our interview why he is optimistic about the future and who he will be rooting for during the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

“The new Polo is the benchmark of its segment,” says South American CEO Pablo Di Si.

Mr. Di Si, Volkswagen do Brasil has recently introduced the Virtus. What importance does this notchback sedan have for the South American market?

The launch of the Virtus is very important to us, because this model is based on the MQB platform, which has been developed especially for the South American Region. The car is very advanced with respect to design, safety, innovation, and ­performance.

A few weeks ago, Volkswagen do Brasil launched the new Polo in South America. What was the first feedback that you received?

The new Polo has been very well received indeed by customers, journalists, dealers, ­employees, and suppliers. This model is the ambassador of the new Volkswagen: more agile, more efficient, more ­innovative, and connected to people. Just in the pre-sales period alone, we received 4,000 orders for the new model. This enthusiasm was matched in the trade press, where the vehicle has already notched up no fewer than 13 victories in 13 comparison tests from the trade press. This goes to prove that the new Polo is the benchmark for its segment.

» Polo is the benchmark for its segment. «

Volkswagen has had some difficult years in South America, but now sales are recovering. Can we expect this upward trend to continue?

We believe in the great potential of the South American continent. The economy is entering a much more positive cycle – with lower inflation and interest rates, and an increase in consumer confidence. And we have a consistent strategy for growth. With the new Polo and the Virtus, Volkswagen do Brasil is starting the greatest product campaign ever, with 20 new products on the market by 2020, of which 13 will be produced in this country.

Regionalization is becoming more and more important. How can you profit from this?

In the course of regionalization, we took over responsibility for 29 markets in South America, Central America, and the ­Caribbean, and customized our strategies and products for the customers in each of these countries. As a result, in the first ten months of this year, our sales in the region already grew 27 percent compared with the same period in 2016. This was the Volkswagen brand’s highest regional sales increase anywhere in the world. At the same time, exports from Brazil rose by 69 percent.

PABLO DI SI

The Argentine has been the South American CEO of the Volkswagen brand since the beginning of October. He is also CEO of Volkswagen do Brasil. Previously, the 48-year-old family man was CEO of Volkswagen Argentina.

Can you please characterize the customers in South America. What are they looking for? What is important to them?

Our customers want cars with a more emotional design, and more comfort, connectivity, safety and performance as well as lower operating costs. That is the reason why, in order to keep on growing, we must continue our regionalization strategy and ensure that our products are even more closely geared to the preferences and purchasing power of our regional customers. The new Polo, for example, has a separate front design, which has been developed by the Volkswagen do Brasil design department exclusively for South America.

Let’s talk about soccer. You were a good soccer player when you were young. Is there anything you can transfer from sports to your working life?

Thanks to soccer – I was a midfielder in the professional club Huracán in Buenos Aires – I won a scholarship to study at the University of Chicago and I also played on the university team there. A lot can be transferred from soccer to one’s career. Volkswagen do Brasil, for instance, is not much different from a big team – it has an enormous fan base, a great tradition, and many talents. The objective of each and every soccer team is to win ­championships, and in order to do that you need to get the very best out of the various talents and abilities – whether in sports or in working life.

You are from Argentina and live in Brazil. Your wife is Brazilian. The Volkswagen headquarters is in Germany. Who will you be rooting for during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia?

(Laughs) Of course I hope that Brazil, Argentina, and Germany all do well at the World Cup. At the end of the day, the team that wins is the one that played best as a team. But I can tell you one thing: when Argentina plays against Brazil, things at home can get pretty difficult.