Monday, November 29, 1999

VW to increase output from Chakan plant in three months

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Manohar Singh Wolfsburg (Germany), June 16 (PTI) Aiming to capture ten per cent of the Indian car market by 2016, German auto major Volkswagen will be increasing output at its Chakan plant within three months as part of its strategy. The firm, which currently produces compact car Polo and group company Skoda''s Fabia in the plant, is planning to add a second shift of production at the facility to coincide with its plan to roll out another sedan, Vento from the facility by July. It had rolled out the 10,000th car from the Chakan plant in the beginning of this month. "Taking the next step, as planned, we are introducing the second shift of production within the next three months," Volkswagen India Private Ltd Managing Director Joerg Mueller told PTI. He, however, did not specify how much increase in production it would lead to. "Within four to six years we will increase the market share from approximately two per cent last year to eight to 10 per cent," he said. The Indian car market is the second fastest growing in the world after China, approaching the 2 million units mark annually and VW estimates it to touch about 3 million units by 2015-16. Mueller said by the year-end VW''s Chakan plant will be employing 2,500 employees at the plant, from the current about 1,200. VW had invested Rs 3,500 crore in setting up the plant that has an annual capacity of 1.1 lakh units. "We target to reach the full capacity of 1.1 lakh vehicles in one-and-a-half years," Mueller added. Talking about the Vento launch, he said: "We are now being prepared to launch a sedan called Vento, which is partly based on the Polo platform and will come in a few months." Asked about the possibility of launching a smaller car than the Polo, he said: "For us it also makes sense to be present in the market segment below the Polo wherefore we will investigate the feasibility of launching such a model." Besides Polo, VW also sells sedans Passat and Jetta, which are assembled at group firm Skoda''s Aurangabad plant, in India.

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