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Old 15th November 2006, 13:11   #1
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Default Skoda to assemble Passat, Audi in India & 'Ford to build diesel engine plant in India

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2006 01:31:11 AM]

AURANGABAD: Call this leveraging group strength. German auto maker Volkswagen will not wait for its greenfield plant to come up at Chakan, near Pune. It will begin assembly of Passat, VW’s mid-sized family car, at the SkodaAuto India plant at Shendra, near here, from the first quarter of ’07. The Passat shares the same platform as the Skoda Superb.

Audi, yet another group company, will also use the Skoda India facility to assemble its A4 platform, since this is a platform already being used to assemble a Skoda Octavia variant.

Amid this activity, SkodaAuto India will launch its own small car, the Fabia, by December ’07. The Fabia will come in both, petrol and diesel versions although it is not clear which of its three variants, sedan, hatchback or estate, will come first.

“Some products from group companies will be assembled here, especially those where the platform is the same and we can use the synergies,” Lukas Folc, MD, SkodaAuto India, said, adding, “The first Volkswagen (VW) cars will roll out of this plant by the first quarter of ’07 and Audi (another VW group company) would like to start as soon as possible.”

Referring to the much-talked of yet delayed launch of Skoda’s own small car, the Fabia, Mr Folc said the feasibility studies are done and it will come by end of calendar ’07. While the Czech auto maker had talked of introducing the Fabia as a sedan over market preferences for a hatchback late last year, Mr Folc said, “Our thinking on the matter has changed now.”

Given the group’s aggressive growth plans, SkodaAuto India is tripling assembly capacities, from 29,000 units per annum now to over 50,000 per annum over the next three years. A signficiant chink of this, up to 35-40,000 per annum will be accounted for by the Fabia alone. The car, positioned in the same segment as the Honda City, the Ford Fiesta, will come in both, petrol and diesel versions and is expected to be priced competitively.

For the nearly five year old assembly operation, having begun on November 16, ’01, this will be a major expansion. Investments will be in line with this huge increase, when the plant moves from being a single shift operation to a double shift. While declining to comment on the exact investment, Mr Folc admitted it would be in the tens of million Euro by ’08, with industry experts pegging this around e40-60m.

Expansion at its Shendra location will not be an issue since it has a 74 acre plot with a large chunk of it still unutilised. Not only is the car maker expanding assembly capacities, it is also expanding its dealer network, from the 42 it now has, to 60. The new dealers will be in the smaller towns, like Nashik and Aurangabad, to target the small car buyer.

'Ford to build diesel engine plant in India'

REUTERS[ TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2006 03:30:34 PM]

MUMBAI: Ford Motor Co plans to set up a plant in India to make diesel engines, an industry source said on Tuesday, as consumers in the fast-growing market shift to the more fuel-efficient option. The plant would have a capacity to make about 100,000 units of the 1.4-litre Duratorq engine each year, the source said.

Ford, which makes 60,000 vehicles a year at a plant near the southern city of Chennai, now buys petrol engines from a unit of Hindustan Motors Ltd. and imports diesel engines.

Asked for comment, Ford India's head said the company was studying "various localisation opportunities."

"It is dependent on having the appropriate levels of volume and technology available in India," Arvind Mathew said in an e-mail response.

In August, Mathew told Reuters that the Indian vehicle market would lean more towards diesel.

Ford's Endeavour sport utility is a diesel model and 70 percent of sales of its Fiesta model have diesel engines. The Fiesta is powered by the 1.4-litre Duratorq diesel engine.

Ford could also launch a diesel variant of the Fusion fairly easily, Mathew said in August.

Diesel's share of the Indian passenger vehicle market is forecast to rise to 35 percent by 2010 from 30 percent now, according to estimates by J.D. Power.

Top car maker Maruti Udyog Ltd. plans to roll out a diesel car shortly, and number two Hyundai Motor Co. <005380.KS> is investing $500 million in an engine and transmission plant in Chennai to make about 400,000 petrol and diesel engines a year.

Tata Motors Ltd. , the third-biggest car maker, will make a small diesel engine with its joint venture partner Fiat .

Ford India makes the Ikon, Fiesta and Fusion mid-size sedans and the Endeavour sport utility at its Chennai factory.

In August, Mathew said Ford expected to sell 50,000 vehicles in India this year, double what it sold in 2005, and could raise its production capacity to 100,000 units.

Last edited by rangaraj : 15th November 2006 at 13:21.
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Old 15th November 2006, 14:56   #2
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Yes that seems like a good plan but two questions remain.

1. What price range is the Passat going to be & against what competition?

2. Will the Fabia ever come?
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Old 15th November 2006, 18:46   #3
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I guess they are serious about the Fabia finally. But we have been hearing that for 4 years now.

Will it ever come? Will it sell?
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Old 15th November 2006, 20:42   #4
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I thought the Passat is already on sale (full import) at some ridiculusly high price. I think the Passat eventually needs to be positioned between the Laura and the Superb....pretty close to the Camry.

As far the Fiesta I guess it makes sense as 70% of Fiesta sales are the diesel and the engine is imported from Europe. Interesting note they have decided to ditch HM as their engine assembler and go for an alll new plant of their own.
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Old 15th November 2006, 21:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
I thought the Passat is already on sale (full import) at some ridiculusly high price.
I don't think the Passat is available. As far as I know only the Pheaton, Touareg & the Caravelle are on sale.
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Old 15th November 2006, 23:18   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
I guess they are serious about the Fabia finally. But we have been hearing that for 4 years now.

Will it ever come? Will it sell?
Curiosity has killed the cat!
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Old 16th November 2006, 00:50   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iraghava
I don't think the Passat is available. As far as I know only the Pheaton, Touareg & the Caravelle are on sale.
yup but havent seen any 1 of the vw's on road as yet...

they should consider getting the bug too...after seeing a lot of the modern bugs in india.
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Old 16th November 2006, 05:36   #8
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Passat is a competitor to the likes of Camry & Accord.
Generally VW sedans (Jetta & Passat) tend to have lot of features standard on the base models itself. Very few variants, unlike their japanese offerings.
Their strength is diesel power trains, there in lies the catch
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Old 16th November 2006, 08:39   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iraghava
I don't think the Passat is available. As far as I know only the Pheaton, Touareg & the Caravelle are on sale.

It is, only as a 6 cyl 3 ltr on order. Abroad, car sits above the spuerb due to "brand cachet"

Will be tough selling the car at at 25L + with cars like the Accord, Camry around
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Old 16th November 2006, 09:15   #10
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I am sure it will be priced more than camry (similar to US pricing strategy). But hey who wants to drive "unreliable" VW when Honda and Toyos are there. Definitely they have stronger body and more standard features. Same unreliability for Audi too though they are fun to drive. They must be competing with Bimmer market in India.
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