Volkswagen launches its Jetta sedan in India

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{image-Jetta sedan1_17072008.jpg}Mumbai, Jul 17: Volkswagen, the world's fourth-largest carmaker, launched its Jetta sedan here on Wednesday evening, July 16.

The Jetta sedan is being assembled locally at the Volkswagen groups' Aurangabad plant. It will be available in India in three variants and two engines - Jetta 1.6L petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox and the exceptionally torque strong 1.9L TDI with a strong turbo-diesel engine. A senior official said the company would roll out more than 200 cars a month.

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"One target is that every customer will get his car," said Makham Dhalivaal, managing director, Volkswagen group Sales India Private Limited.

Volkswagen, like other European carmakers such as Renault and Fiat, aims to cut its reliance on Western Europe to tap rising incomes in markets such as India and China.

Volkswagen expects 70-80 per cent of its sales to come from outside Europe within a decade, but surging commodity prices would have an impact.

Volkswagen sees high prices of oil and raw materials curbing the pace of growth in emerging markets such as India, but expects they will still make up the bulk of sales in ten years, another senior official said.

"With the inflation, government would need to raise the base interest rates. But those interest rates from my personal analysis would still be historically very low. So the impact may not be that great. Secondly, the car ownership in India is still very-very low. So, that will grow. That's the nature of what happens in the fast moving economy," said Joerg Mueller, president of Volkswagen Group India.

In India, where Volkswagen already assembles the Passat sedan, it expects to sell 20,000 Skoda, Audi and Volkswagen cars in 2008.

A new plant with a capacity of 110,000 units will become operational in 2009, and make a small car based on the Polo platform for launch in 2010, giving it a presence in the segment that makes up about two-thirds of car sales in India.


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