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VW may roll out small car here

From economictimes.indiatimes| March 27 , 2007

Volkswagen is reviewing its model strategy for India even as it denies media reports in Germany that it is putting its India plans on the backburner. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn made a statement that the company will review its models for India and sources have indicated that there are plans to introduce a smaller compact car in the M800 range.

When contacted Pierre Bruedgam, member of the board-purchasing, Volkswagen India, told ET: “We will not stop our activities in India! We are on track and are following our plans.” A company spokesman added: “We are now in a decision-making process. We are yet to decide on the models to be introduced in the Indian market in 2007 and which car will be produced at our new plant in Pune from 2009 onwards.”

Four months ago, Volkswagen announced that it will introduce a derivative of the Polo in India as a hot hatch in the segment that currently has Swift and Getz. It also announced that it would kick off its India operation with the locally-assembled Passat.

But now indications are that the model choice may undergo a change. In an earlier interview with ET, Bruedgam said VW will launch a new car every year. This year, it is the Passat sedan, a B Class car, which will be launched in September. Next year, the A Class, which comprises the Golf and its derivatives and then, in 2009, the volume segment small car, which will come as both notchback and hatchback.

The company, he said, is also looking at the ‘A Zero Zero Class’, which is the equivalent of Maruti 800. VW is setting up a e410 million, 110,000-capacity car plant at Chakan, near Pune. VW India expects to reach this capacity by 2009, with the launch of its small car, the Golf and its derivatives.

Since India is perceived to be a sedan market, VW India will start off with sedans, first the Passat and then the Golf and its derivatives. For most of its proposed line-up, the car maker is expected to maintain a 55:45 ratio between diesel and petrol.


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