Volkswagen’s plan to make a big dent in the Indian market is taking shape. Its two-volume products — the new Polo and Space up! — are getting close to being firmed up and this means the carmaker will go full throttle once its plant is completed at Chakan in Maharashtra.
The new Polo family will be here by 2010 and will include three body styles — a hatchback, a saloon as well as a notchback, with prices starting at Rs 7 lakh. Local content will have to be above 75 per cent for the project to make commercial sense, according to Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, executive vice-president of VW India.
This could be higher than that planned for the current Skoda Fabia, giving VW an edge in pricing. The Polo in India is also likely to have a different set of headlamps, cheaper than those on the European model.
Whereas the formerly-rear-engined up! has been transformed into a front-engined car due to synergies shared with the VW group’s current line-up, there will be a family of cars from the up! segment later in India.
The variants are still under discussion; what is set however are the powertrains. The up! will be powered by a three-cylinder petrol to start with and will be joined later by a twin-cylinder diesel that has very compact packaging.