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Volkswagen to launch 5 products in India in next two years


New Delhi: Struggling to make a mark in India, German auto major Volkswagen plans to introduce five new products, including a compact sedan and relaunch of its iconic car Beetle, in the next two years to increase sales.

The company kicked off the programme with the launch of a new version of its mid-sized sedan Vento priced between Rs 7.85 lakh and Rs 11.87 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

“India is an important market for Volkswagen. In the next 24 months we plan to launch five products,” Volkswagen Passenger Cars Director Michael Mayer told reporters here.

The company plans to enter new segments with the launches, he added.

“We will be launching a sub-4 meter compact sedan next year. We also plan to bring Beetle into India,” Mayer said.

Further, the company plans to launch the 8th generation of its Passat sedan and brand new sports utility vehicle Tiguan in the country, he added.

“These launches will widen our product portfolio and enhance our presence in the country,” Mayer said.

Despite its leadership position in Europe, Volkswagen has been struggling to make its presence felt in India.

As per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data, in 2014-15 the company sold 45,012 units as against 52,525 units in the previous fiscal, down 14.3 per cent.

The overall car sales in India in FY15 stood at 18,76,017 units compared with 17,86,826 units in the previous fiscal, up 4.99 per cent.

In the April-May period this fiscal, Volkswagen India sold 7,739 units as against 5,687 units in the year-ago period, up 36.08 per cent.

In April this year, the company had stated that it would invest Rs 1,500 crore for localisation and produce cost effective products in India. It also plans to increase the production capacity at the Chakan and Aurangabad units in the next two years.

However, in 2012 the German auto major had put on hold its proposed Rs 2,000 crore investment plan in India due to an ongoing VAT refund issue with Maharashtra government.

On the Vento launch, Mayer said: “The Vento has always been among our best received products in the market and with the changes made…we are confident that the product will continue to appeal to our customers.”

The company had first launched Vento in 2010 and has sold around 1.10 lakh units of the sedan since then.

The new Vento comes in both petrol and diesel versions.

Volkswagen is planning to make India a low-cost manufacturing hub, which will cater to emerging and developed markets.

It plans to increase its production to two lakh units by 2018 and add more new models from the Chakan plant.

In India, Volkswagen group has five brands —- Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda, Porsche and Lamborghini.

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