Volkswagens new sedan Vento gears up to hit roads by October

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 7 2010, 06:54am hrs
German car major Volkswagen has identified India as an important strategic growth market. Underlining the country's importance, the company unveiled its new sedan Vento on Tuesday. The car is slated to hit the Indian roads between October and December this year.

The car, which is 96 mm longer than the Polo, with a 1.6 litre engine, would be produced from its Chakan plant. Vento is the second car Volkswagen is making in India, the first being Polo, which was launched earlier this year

There are challenges for the carmaker, though. Long-waiting periods could turn out to be a major dampener for the company in the short run. Acknowledging the issue, Neeraj Garg, member of the board and director for Volkswagen Passenger Car said that the company will look to address the issue in the long run, but would not be able to help it immediately.

The company launched its first hatchback Polo for the Indian roads earlier this year, but despite its new look and style, customers have been shying away from purchasing the car due to the waiting period. The waiting period for Polo is around 4-6 months...there have been very few cancellations (from customers) say around 30 to 40 happening from time to time. There is no seasonality for that, Garg said.

He added that the order backlog for Polo is 10,000 units. Garg said that the company may look to ramp capacity of its Chakan plant in the future to meet rising demand for its models. The plant has a capacity of 110,000 units.

Garg cited high quality standards that the German car company follows for the delay. He said, We need to maintain high quality. The mix of quality ranges from the supply of right components from the suppliers, at the right time, quality of assembling the cars at the factory. The complete processing takes time. The process will get expedited, he said. Currently the Chakan plant has only one shift but Garg said that the company would start the second shift as well.

An Auto analyst with Angel Broking Vaishali Jajoo said that for a new entrant into the car company like Volkswagen, issues of long-waiting periods had to be addressed immediately or else the company could continue to lose customers. Long waiting periods are a significant problem for any car company especially for a new one. Companies like Volkswagen should be prepared with the expected volumes, she said.

Garg said that in the last three months Volkswagen has delivered about 4,000 cars.