Volkswagen, Europe's largest car maker on Monday signed a partnership agreement with city-based PCH Group, making it the first authorised dealer for Volkswagen in South India and announced the entry of the Rs 25 lakh (Rs 2.5 million) Passat sedan in the Silicon city.
The PCH group will invest around Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) towards setting up two world class showrooms for Volkswagen cars in India, Gurjit Singh, Managing Director of the Group told reporters in Bangalore.
It will open the first Volkswagen showroom in Bangalore at Hosur Road by end of 2008. The showroom will offer 3S facility- spares, sales and service, equipped with the latest service infrastructure, he said.
They also plan to open a first-of-its kind boutique by June 2008 at 100 feet Indiranagar, which will provide Volkswagen offerings.
The PCH group, under the entity Elite Motors, currently has an interim facility for Volkswagen at Ulsoor Road, he said. Elite Motors also plans to open two more showrooms by end of 2008 and more services infrastructure by 2009.
Announcing the entry of Passat Sedan, Andreas Prinz, MD, Volkswagen Passenger cars at Volkswagen Group Sales India Private Limited, said that since its launch in the country 70-80 Passats were being sold per month since October. "India is a key market, with Bangalore being one of the important markets," he said adding that the company was expecting higher sales in the future. Volkswagen is building a new production plant in Pune with an investment totaling some 410 million Euros.
The initial capacity of the plant would be 1,10,000 cars per year and was expected to begin operations by 2009, Prinz said. Plans were afoot for local assembly of the Jetta at Volkswagen's Skoda unit at Aurangabad.
There were also plans to bring the new Beetle into the country soon and import the Phaeton, he said while outlining the future growth plans of the company. Volkswagen also planned to introduce a small car in India based on its mini hatchback Polo, which would be assembled at the new upcoming facility, he said.
In addition to the model and production plans, an exclusive dealer network will be set up in the country's main areas of demand. Currently Volkswagen has three dealers in key metros - Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. The company plans to augment the figure to 15 by end of this year and 50-70 dealers, once production is ramped up in the country, said Prinz.
On the entry of Tata's Rs 100, 000 Nano, he said that it was a good initiative at growing the market and expressed the hope that those who had upgraded from two wheelers to the Nano would subsequently upgrade to Volkswagen.