At a glittering media event at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai,
Volkswagen unveiled its first VW car to be assembled in
India, the Passat.
the next one and a half hours, amidst a specially designed
cultural programme showcasing the fusion of Indian and
German cultures, the Passat was officially launched.
Rose, executive director, international sales, Volkswagen
passenger cars described the Passat in India as a car
that combines elegance, comfort, and driving pleasure
in a value for money package. The Passat has sales of
around half a million cars a year, and has won more awards
in Europe than any other car in its category.
launch event itself saw a band of musicians, both Indian
as well as foreign, come together with a ballerina and
an Indian classical dancer to give form to VW''s tagline
of "Indian spirit meets German excellence".
said that the brand has a 70-year history, dating back
to the Beetle, which had a shape as recognisable as the
coke bottle, across the world. He further elaborated that
the Volkswagen brand was recognised by 43 per cent of
Indians, despite this being its first, official entry
into the country.
to comment on the projected sales for the Passat in India,
Rose said that almost as policy, the company does not
like to state numbers, anecdotally adding that if he were
to state any, they''d most probably be wrong. Citing the
example of China, where hatchbacks were somewhat looked
down upon just two years ago, they are now perceived as
a similar observation about the Russian car market, he
said that a year ago small SUV''s were nowhere on the popularity
charts, as against this year. According to him, with the
markets seeing this kind of an unprecedented pace of change,
any numbers that he would quote were bound to be off the
he said that Volkswagen had entered India driving in the
Passat, and would now focus on "doing it the right
way, one step at a time," taking the time to learn
the nuances of the Indian market, as opposed to basing
its future course of action on statistics.
on brand Volkswagen, Rose said that VW has always been
a brand of people, and is conscious of being a good citizen.
VW is here to create partnerships and employment, as much
as it is here to deliver quality, reliability, service
and after sales service, and is here to establish itself
as "a brand that you can trust".
to Rose, Volkswagen sees the bulk of its future growth
coming from outside of Europe, with India playing a key
role in that growth. Presently, the company sees 56 per
cent of its business from outside Europe, and is looking
to expand this to over 70 per cent over the coming decade.
Passat was driven out on the ramp by Jorg Mueller, president
Volkswagen India, and Anderas Prinz managing director,
Volkswagen passenger cars, India. When asked by hostess
Kamal Sidhu on how he felt about the first drive of the
Passat, he quipped, that it was nice, but rather short,
referring to the 10-odd meters that the car had covered
added that he too preferred to drive rather than occupy
the passenger seat, as he had during the launch, going
further to explain at length the features, interior and
exterior trims and finish of the car to the media. This
was followed by an extended photo opportunity for the