Geneva: Premium carmaker Volkswagen has finalised plans to launch the original 'people's car' Beetle in India by October this year. Following the Beetle, will be the Polo hatchback in early 2010.
The company will also continue with its plan to invest Rs3,600 crore in its Pune plant, keeping up with its earlier decision of augmenting its production capacity.
According to Volkswagen India,'s project head Ludwig Geerken, ''We have no plans to alter our decision to invest Rs3,600 crore in India,'' he said.
While the Polo will be made at the company's plant in Pune, the Beetle will be imported as a completely built unit from Mexico thereby making it a costly proposition for customers. The base version of the VW Beetle is sold in the European market for around 17,000 Euros.
However, in India with the car coming in through the CBU route customs duties and Indian road regulations could lead to the car being priced closer to Rs20 lakh, slotting with luxury cars than a mid-priced one, let alone a people's car.
The VW Beetle may be available in India in only one 1.9-litre TDI diesel variant and would come equipped with rain sensors and cruise control, acoustic rear parking sensors and a host of safety features such as ABS, traction control, anti-skid system and front and side airbags. Unlike the original rear-engined vehicle, the Beetle variant for Indian roads will have a conventional front engine capable of achieving a maximum speed of 180km per hour.
Volkswagen officials have declined to reveal pricing details of the Polo hatchback, which will follow the Beetle in early 2010. Without elaborating further, Geerken said, ''It will be competitively priced with other cars in that category.''
One of the most long-lasting vehicles in its segment, the fifth-generation Polo, debuted at last week's Geneva Motor Show.
According to the company the latest version is sharper, lighter and safer than any other previous version and weighs 7.5 per cent less than the vehicle it replaces. The new Polo is powered by a mix of 1.2 and 1.4 litre engines as well as a turbocharged 1.2-litre TSI petrol unit joining another all-new 1.6 litre TDI common rail diesel engine.
For now the Volkswagen would purely fit into the lifestyle cars segment. Reports say Volkswagen is aiming to enhance its image with the Beetle in the highly competitive Indian car segment. Volkswagen has already created a presence in India through cars like SkodaAuto India and Audi India.
The company's 30,000-unit manufacturing capacity at Aurangabad is an immensely successful venture for VW in India. Skoda models such as Superb, Laura, Octavia and Fabia; Audi A6 and A4; and Volkswagen Jetta and Passat are rolled out currently from the assembly line at Aurangabad.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen is also considering setting up a research centre in India, similar to the one the group set up in China three years ago. The proposed research centre would look into and study accidents and use the results to improve accident safety in the cars VW makes in future. The German company will set up the centre to kick off research across all products in its group.