ALTHOUGH VOLKSWAGEN AUSTRALIA has still not confirmed whether it will bring the Scirocco here, it appears buyers desperately wanting one of the swoopy hatchbacks may be able to get one through another avenue - the 'grey import' market.
The Scirocco has been deemed eligible for importation under the Specialist & Enthusiast Vehicles Scheme (SEVS).
Under SEVS, a car is eligible if it satisfies any two of four criteria: have an unusual design, a unique appearance, be featured in a specialist publication or have a power to weight ratio in excess of 105kW per tonne.
The Scirocco 2.0 TSI and hi-performance Scirocco R both qualify due to their performance and having being featured in local car magazines, however other Scirocco variants have yet to be deemed eligible.
Even so, SEVS eligibility is no guarantee that the Scirocco complies with Australian Design Rules, which is one other significant hurdle that must be overcome if the car is imported for registration on public roads.
If approved for local compliance as a SEVS import, the Scirocco could only be imported in low volumes. Of course, should VW Australia commence full-volume imports, then it would no longer be eligible under SEVS.
It's not known which company submitted the Scirocco for entry on the SEVS register of approved vehicles (there are a number of low volume importers active in the market). At the least it is a sign that enthusiasm for the model is high in Australia.
Volkswagen Australia however is struggling to make a business case for the Scirocco here. Its cost and subsequent low volumes knock it out of contention. For the time being, the GTI and the Golf R - expected mid-2010 - will carry the performance banner for the Wolfsburg giant.