The assembly line at Volkswagen India's plant in Chakan, Pune rolled out its millionth car 10 years after operations began at the facility. The celebratory car, the made-for-India Volkswagen Carbon Steel Ameo, rolled out in the presence of Gurpratap Boparai, managing director, Volkswagen India; Steffen Knapp, director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, the top management of Volkswagen Pune Plant and some of the oldest employees who have been part of the production department since a decade at Volkswagen Pune Plant.
The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility became operational on March 31, 2009 with the production of the first car, the Skoda Fabia. Three more models – Volkswagen Polo, Vento and Skoda Rapid – soon started rolling off the production site by end of 2010. The plant, initially set up to cater to the Indian market, also started exporting cars to various other markets beginning with South Africa in 2012.
Mexico went on to become one of the most important destinations for the made-in- India cars and the Vento quickly became the highest-selling Volkswagen in that market. Today, more than 400,000 cars manufactured from the Volkswagen Pune Plant have reached more than 50 different countries in Asia, Africa, North America and South America.
Speaking at the milestone car rollout, Gurpratap Boparai, managing director, Volkswagen India said, “Volkswagen India’s production facility is a global benchmark in quality and technological advancement in manufacturing, and it has remained the backbone of our growth narrative in India. On behalf of the entire management, I would like to congratulate the team at Volkswagen India who have worked relentlessly on achieving this milestone today.”
He added, “The roll-out of the one-millionth car is an important milestone for us in our long-term commitment to the Indian market. We would like to build further on this milestone and work towards higher localisation, ramping up production and manufacturing world-class products for the country and several other markets around the world in the future.”
Steffen Knapp, director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, commented, “The one millionth rollout of a Volkswagen carline is a testament of our strong brand equity in a dynamic and evolving market like India. This milestone is dedicated to all our employees, customers and strong network that have contributed significantly for the growth of our Brand in India. With this achievement, we look forward to many more such milestones and commit a stronger product portfolio and heightened customer experience in the years to come.”
India 2.0 project to drive future growth
As is known, the Volkswagen Group is further strengthening its commitment to the domestic market through its regional project INDIA 2.0. The focus of this project is to develop more cars that are relevant to the requirements of the Indian market on a platform that has been localised. The Volkswagen Group is investing a billion euros (Rs 8,000 crore) in this project and has already set up a Technology Centre at the Pune Plant to start local development. It has thereby laid the foundation for the development of products based on the localised sub-compact MQB-A0-IN platform tailored to the needs of customers in the Indian subcontinent.
Earlier this month, the Volkswagen Group announced its intent to merge its three Indian subsidiaries – Volkswagen India, Volkswagen Group Sales India and Skoda India – to make more efficient use of the existing synergies in developing India as a growth market. The Volkswagen Group brands – Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini – will maintain their individual identities, dealer network and customer experience initiatives. The brands will work under the leadership of Gurpratap Boparai with a common strategy for the Indian market.