German automobile major Volkswagen has set its eyes on garnering 8 to 10 per cent share of the Indian car market by 2014-15. Indicating this in an interaction with presspersons here on Sunday, Jörg Müller, President and Managing Director of Volkswagen India Private Ltd., said the German company had lined up a slew of launches to hit this target.

Fielding a range of questions, Mr. Müller said the company had sold 1,900 units during January-August this year. The company was already selling 15 models in the country and lined up five more launches, including the hatchback and sedan versions of Polo next year, from its Rs. 3,800-crore facility at the Chakan Industrial Park near Pune, which was inaugurated in March this year, he added.

Besides producing the Skoda Fabia, the Chakan plant would also make the hatchback version of the Volkswagen Polo, its compact car specially designed for the Indian market. The compact car would roll out of the Chankan plant in the first quarter of 2010-11, he said. “The Pune plant is an important step for us. It is, perhaps, the biggest German investment in India,” he said. The Pune plant would have a capacity to make 1.1 lakh cars a year, he added.

Putting in place the processes, satiating the stringent quality needs of the Indian customer and giving right training to the quality manpower were among the challenges faced by the German car maker while competing in the Indian marketplace, Mr. Muller said. Declining to dwell on the pricing of the compact car, he insisted that “our car will be the best car in the segment and carry a competitive price tag.” To begin with, the proposed compact car would have a local content of 50 per cent. Volkswagen would drive this up to 75 per cent over a period of time, he added. At the moment, according to Mr. Muller, Volkswagen had around 120 suppliers.

Volkswagen, he said, had also begun sourcing auto components from India for its European plants. Going forward, he felt India could become a major component sourcing hub for its global units. He said that the company had already started sourcing components from India for its Russian plant. He, however, declined to disclose the component which was sourced from India. Answering a question, he, however, said Volkswagen was looking at sourcing light systems, plastic-related items and metals for its European plants.

The Volkswagen Group has been making Skoda, Volkswagen and Audi models at its plant in Aurangabad since 2001. The Pune plant is claimed to be one of the most modern ones in the Volkswagen Group. It has a high level of vertical integration and a large share of local suppliers. The facility, it is stated, is the only production plant operated by a German automaker in India that covers the entire production process from press shop through body shop and paint shop to final assembly.

Volkswagen, Mr. Muller said, would employ some 2,500 people at the Pune plant by the end of 2010.

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