Volkswagen drives the Passat into India

Mumbai: At a glittering media event at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, Volkswagen unveiled its first VW car to be assembled in India, the Passat.

Over 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.

Kevin 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.

The 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".

Rose 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.

Declining 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 ''hip''.