Tapping the Indian market: A Polo car in display during the inauguration of the Volkswagen India Plant in Chakan, near Mumbai
GERMAN automobile giant Volkswagen AG, seeking to tap into India's fast-growing vehicle market, said yesterday it hopes to sell 100,000 cars by 2014 in the country.
Europe's largest car manufacturer said it would accelerate its sales in India using the planned launch next year of its popular mass-market Polo hatchback and sedan models.
In 2008 Volkswagen India sold 1,566 vehicles and in the year 2009 the company hopes to double that figure.
Volkswagen, which wants to reduce reliance on saturated Western markets, aims to increase the number of cars it sells in India to 100,000 cars in five years, Volkswagen India's director for passenger cars, Neeraj Garg, said.
The company plans to launch the hatchback Polo model during the first half of 2010 and the sedan model in the second half of next year.
"I am totally confident we can achieve this sales increase," Garg said.
"We need to have a product in the mass market (in India) and for that the Polo is the right car," Garg said.
"The premium hatchback segment in India is showing very promising growth - there's huge opportunity," he added.
The Polo will be manufactured at the company's new Chakan plant near Pune which opened in March and has the capacity to produce 110,000 cars a year.
India is "one of the most strategic markets for growth of Volkswagen globally - the company has invested heavily in India," Garg said.
Volkswagen already sells its Passat and Jetta sedans in India as well as its premium Phaeton and Touareg SUV.
The company is also planning to sell in India its new Beetle, the remake of the iconic "bug," Garg said, adding its introduction may come before the launch of the Polo.
Nearly all big global carmakers are present in India or establishing plants to drive revenue growth.India, with its growing middle class, is one of the few countries where car sales have been increasing amid the worldwide economic downturn.
The country is one of the world's least penetrated car markets with just seven autos per 1,000 people compared with 850 cars per 1,000 people in the US, industry figures say.
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