German car maker Volkswagen AG, which plans to launch its small car Polo in India, has firmed up plans for hatchback (a car with a sloping back and a back-door on a hinge) and notchback (a car with a roof that sharply drops to the top of the boot) versions with 1.2 litre and 1.6 litre petrol engines, or a 1.6 litre diesel engine, a vendor familiar with the development said.
“Plans are to launch the Polo in April 2010,” this vendor, who supplies parts to the venture, added.
A company spokesperson said the car is currently under development in Germany and that it is too early to talk about its specifications. He, however, confirmed that the model would be the sixth-generation Polo, modified to suit driving conditions in India.
Driving in: The Polo will be sold in hatchback and notchback variants.
“We will eventually have both the hatchback and the notchback, but expect to take a final call on all the details by the end of this month,” he said. The company is investing more than Rs2,300 crore in Pune to build a plant that can produce 110,000 cars a year.
Separately, another vendor said the company is working extensively with select vendors to modify the original Polo so that it meets Indian driving conditions and driving habits. For instance, the company is working with a number of vendors who are helping it to replace expensive, sophisticated non-metal parts in the car with lightweight metal parts.
“These parts have the same function as the imported plastic parts, but will bring cost down significantly so that the total production cost of the car is kept in control,” this vendor said, adding that the company is currently in the process of handing out contracts for various components.
Neither vendor wanted to be identified because it would jeopardize their relationship with the company.
Volkswagen made a debut in India in end 2007 with its luxury sedan Passat—currently assembled at group company SkodaAuto India’s Aurangabad plant—and plans to launch the Jetta in mid 2008. Skoda’s small car Fabis is already sold in the country.
India’s compact car market, the largest selling segment of the overall car market, has attracted global attention, with car makers, including Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., among others expected to launch their models in this segment.