Jetta to take Honda City head on

Jetta to take Honda City head on

Author | Source: Business Standard | Monday, Aug 20,2007 9:59 AM

Jetta to take Honda City head on

Volkswagen's mid-sizer to be launched in '08 from Skoda's Aurangabad unit.

Volkswagen is pulling out all the stops on its India plans. Come 2008, Volkswagen will roll out the Jetta sedan from Skoda’s Aurangabad facility.

To be assembled using completely-knocked-down kits from Puebla, Mexico, the operation will continue until 2009, when Volkswagen will move to its own Rs 2,450-crore, 110,000-units-a-year facility in Pune.

Andreas Prinz, managing director, Volkswagen India, told Business Standard the mid-size car would be priced competitively, aligned with the likes of the Honda City. This places it in the Rs 7 lakh to Rs 9 lakh bracket, which has models like the Hyundai Verna, the Maruti Suzuki SX4 and the Ford Fiesta. The segment recorded sales of 200,000 cars last fiscal.

Volkswagen is pushing for rapid expansion in India since it feels it was missing out on growth opportunities here due to its focus on markets like China.

It has three dealerships in India and is now opening more across the country. Its first Indian-assembled car, the Passat, will be launched on September 5 from the same Skoda facility.

Based on the A5 Golf platform (also the basis of the Skoda Laura), the Volkswagen Jetta is a Golf hatchback with a boot but with better quality interiors and trim.

The name Jetta is inspired by “jet stream” and has been in production for 27 years. India will receive the fifth-generation car currently in production in Germany as well.

Volkswagen proposes to provide both petrol and diesel engines with the Jetta. The company is likely to opt for a 1.6-litre engine as part of its petrol line-up, using its patented FSI technology.

For diesel engines, the company might borrow the 1.9-litre TDI engine from Skoda, as found in its Octavia model in India. The Euro III ready engine will allow Volkswagen to price the car competitively and keep it on a par with the likes of the Hyundai Verna CRDi.

The company might adopt different trim models with top-end versions of petrol and diesel featuring anti-lock braking system and airbags as standard.

Industry sources suggest Volkswagen has recently implemented a new global sourcing plan that rewards suppliers who achieve lower price targets by making them part of new model strategies. This might mean Indian suppliers for the Jetta can be a part of Volkswagen’s global supply chain.

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