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Volkswagen Polo, Vento production to shut down at Pune plant for 1 month

Volkswagen India (now Skoda Auto Volkswagen India) will keep its Chakan plant shut from mid-December 2019 to mid-January 2020. The German automotive giant had previously shut down its main manufacturing facility from mid-October to mid-November, this year.

Vento production
New Vento. Image for reference.

The automotive group is busy preparing for the India 2.0 project which is another 18 months away. The discontinuation of the Ameo compact-sedan and other diesel offerings by April 2020, have also made matters worse for the company. In addition to this, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India might fall short of its annual target of 100,000 units by 15%. In fact, the Indian passenger car market is currently witnessing its hardest slump in the last two decades.

With a product portfolio consisting of just around five cars, Volkswagen’s monthly sales have come down to an average of 2500 units this year. The company had invested in a sub-four-metre product for the Indian market along with a facility to localise diesel engines.

Reports claim that the brand’s modular MQB architecture being implemented in various markets across the world has affected the desirability factor of the current PQ25 products sold in India. Obviously, the only way to recover from this is to implement MQB platforms in the Indian market and this could be the primary reason for shutting down the plant. Apparently, the plan is to introduce MQB by the 17th week of 2020.

New Car sales Oct 2019
New car sales Oct 2019 *MS – Market Share

Mexico is one of the primary markets of export for Volkswagen India. However, due to tough competition from its rivals, the Central American market has become bitter. The Mexican market was one of the main supporting markets for the Chakan plant; making domestic operations possible in spite of having low domestic sales.

Furthermore, the pressure from the government to introduce BS6 engines has also added to the burden on Volkswagen India. It is a known fact that the company’s current product line is outdated compared to its foreign counterparts. The biggest example of this is the Volkswagen Polo hatchback.

While the company celebrated ‘10 Years Of Polo’ in the country recently, many pointed out that the actual ‘new Polo’ was at least six years old. The sixth-generation MQB Polo made its debut back in 2017 while the Indian market is still getting the previous-generation Polo; the fact masked by time-to-time facelifts and add-ons.

Volkswagen makes some of the best passenger vehicles in the world. The company had gone through tougher times before as well, in the name of diesel-emission scandals. However, we hope it gets its Indian division back on track soon, along with the introduction of newer products.

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