German car major Volkswagen rolled out the first of its 'made for India' compact sedan Ameo from its plant here today.
The Ameo is the fourth model to be rolled out locally after the Polo, Vento and the Skoda Fabia.
The German company has invested Rs 720 crore to make this sub-4 meter car, manufactured on its popular hatchback Polo's platform, but developed and designed especially for the domestic market.
The company is hopeful of its success and is not even planning to ship the model to overseas markets.
The investment has gone into setting up new equipment as well as ramping up manufacturing of this compact sedan at the Pune plant. The pre-launch bookings for the Ameo opened two weeks ago and it is gaining good traction, the company said.
With this, Volkswagen has invested Rs 5,720 crore in the country since its entry in 2007, making this the largest investment by any German car company in the country.
Of its total production of 1,23,456 units last year, the company shipped 60 per cent to 35 counties, mostly to Latin America (mainly Mexico), Africa and some Asian markets, Volkswagen India's President and Managing Director Andreas Lauermann said here today.
The Ameo will compete in the 25,000 units-a-month sub-4 meter car market that constitutes 8-10 per cent of the monthly volume. This market has around half-a-dozen models with Maruti Suzuki's Swift Dzire leading with almost 60 per cent market share, followed by Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent and Ford Figo.
Though the company has not announced the prices for the locally produced Ameo, trade sources pegged it at under Rs 8 lakh.
Launching the car, Lauermann said, "This day marks an important event in the journey of Volkswagen India. The Ameo symbolises yet another first as it has specifically been created for the Indian customers."
"Due to the expected high demand for the Ameo, we have recently added a third shift to support the extra production volumes at our plant. We are committed to ensuring that our customers get their Ameo as soon as possible," he added.
The Ameo comes in two variants -- a 1.2L 3-cylinder petrol engine and also 1.5L 4-cylinder diesel engine, and Lauermann said even the entry model will have ABS and airbags as standard safety fittings.