The 2010 VW Polo was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show last month. It was one of the highly anticipated cars of 2009 given its long standing tradition of serving families with comfort, frugality and reliability.
Indians are new to the VW brand as they recently set shop in India and sell limited cars namely the Toureg, Jetta and Passat. We are rather fond of Skoda and recognize them for their Octavia and Laura, which have found heaps of buyers. Audi's line up in India consists of the A4, A6, A8 and Q7 models which are replicating sales numbers of the other Germans BMW and Mercedes.
When we heard a couple of years back that the next generation VW Polo would be manufactured right here in India, we understood it was always going to be special.
In what is VW's largest investment on Indian soil yet, the new Pune plant which will manufacture all types of VW vehicles has been declared open. The plant will manufacture the new Polo next year and will kick start operations by manufacturing the Fabia which belongs to group company Skoda.
The Skoda Fabia has been on the Indian market for roughly a year and with the new plant complete, we can expect a price slash to be declared shortly by the company as the localization level will rise up.
Golf, Caddy, Skoda sub-$8000 car and Nano competitor will run alongside
Aside the Polo, a sedan based on it will also roll out of the facility. Some 2,500 workers will be employed in the plant by the end of next year. Reports also suggest the 110,000 vehicle annual capacity plant will form the base for making a high volume small car that will be priced close to the Tata Nano in 2011.
VW's considering the release of the Caddy in India to contest in the Commercial vehicles' segment, which is another likely candidate for production. Skoda last month confirmed a sub-$8000 car for local and international consumption that could use this plant as its origin. Feasibility studies are said to be conducted to resolve whether the Golf hatchback will be a good choice to run in the production line.
VW Pune Production Plant Inauguration Image Gallery
|Volkswagen opens new plant in Pune / India
Largest investment by German company to date in Indian growth market – maximum annual production capacity of 110,000 vehicles
Wolfsburg / Pune – March 31, 2009. The Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra His Excellency Shri. S. C. Jamir and Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for ‘Group Production’, officially opened the new Volkswagen Group’s plant in India on Tuesday in the presence of some 500 international guests. For Volkswagen, the new production facility is a major stepping stone towards achieving its ambitious growth targets in the Indian subcontinent.
The Pune plant will begin building the Skoda Fabia compact car in May 2009. Production of a hatchback version of the Volkswagen Polo specially developed for the Indian market will be added from 2010. With a total financial commitment in India amounting to 580 million euros, the Pune plant represents the largest investment to date by a Germany company in the country. The facility has a maximum annual production capacity of 110,000 vehicles destined for delivery to the Indian market.
“With the start of production at our new plant in Maharashtra State, the Volkswagen Group has conclusively arrived in India’s emerging market. Thanks to the local production of Volkswagen and Skoda models in Pune, we will benefit even more from the enormous growth in the Indian automobile market in future,” Prof. Dr. Heizmann said at the inaugural ceremony.
Despite the impact of the financial and economic crisis the desire for individual mobility in India remains high. Experts predict that the Indian automobile market will grow each year from the present 1.2 million vehicles to over 2 million vehicles by 2014. The Volkswagen Group has already been building Skoda, Volkswagen and Audi models at its plant in Aurangabad since 2001. In addition to expanding production capacity, the Group is also investing in an efficient Indian supplier industry and in expanding its dealer network across the country.
At the opening ceremony, Jörg Müller, President and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group India, underscored the significance of the new factory in the Chakan industrial park in Pune District: “Volkswagen and its cars are already visible testimony to ‘mobility – made in India’. So I am all the more delighted that our new plant in Pune sends a clear signal for the further development of our brands in India and for the people in this region.”
The Pune plant is one of the most modern in the Volkswagen Group. It has a high level of vertical integration and a large share of local suppliers. The facility is the only production plant operated by a German automaker in India that covers the entire production process from press shop through body shop and paint shop to final assembly.
Volkswagen plans to employ some 2,500 people at the Pune plant by the end of 2010. The investment agreement to build the new plant was signed in November 2006 – just over two years before today’s inauguration ceremony.
In 2008, the Volkswagen Group produced 6.347 million vehicles worldwide, some 66.2 percent (4.201 million) of which were built outside Germany. The Pune plant is the 61st in the worldwide production network of the nine-brand Group.
To mark the opening of the new plant, Jörg Müller presented an ambulance to the Red Cross hospital in Pune and announced that Volkswagen India would be making a donation to expand a local primary school.