VW starts production of first Indian-made Polo

NEW DELHI, December 12, 2009 (AFP) – Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, began production of its popular mass-market Polo hatchback in India on Saturday and said it aimed to grab up to 10 percent of the rapidly growing market. But the Polo is seen by analysts as a key model for Volkswagen to penetrate the market in India where small cars make up 80 percent of annual car sales in the country. The German company rolled out Volkswagen’s first locally manufactured Polo from its plant in Pune in western India.

Volkeswagen said it hopes to capture up to a tenth of the Indian car market in the next four to six years as part of a strategy to boost sales in emerging countries to counter anaemic growth in saturated Western markets.

The company, which entered India in 2001, now holds 1.5 percent of the Indian market, a company spokesman told AFP.

The start of Polo’s production in India “marks a milestone in our journey together into a successful future for the Volkswagen Group in India”, Jochem Heizman, a member of the company’s management board, said in a statement.

India, where new car sales soared 61 percent year-on-year in November, holds “enormous potential” for Volkswagen, Heizman said.

The Pune