The Volkswagen Vento has received 4,000 bookings in 3 weeks since its launch on 6 September, even as the German car maker struggles to increase production of its compact car Polo.
“The initial response for the Vento has been better than Polo,” said Neeraj Garg, member of board and director, VW Passenger cars at VW Group Sales India Pvt. Ltd. The Polo currently has a waiting period of 2-3 months. Priced at Rs. 7.90 Lakh onwards on road in Delhi, Vento competes with the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki SX4 and Fiat Linea, among others.
Hormazd Sorabjee, editor of Autocar India magazine, said the response to the Vento is on expected lines as it offers contemporary diesel engine in a segment where competition is not as intense as the hatchback segment. “The Vento successfully addresses flaws like the weak engine and cramped rear seat in the Polo.”
Meanwhile, to reduce the backlog for the Polo, Volkswagen has started a second shift of production at its factory in Chakan, near Pune in Maharashtra. Since the launch, it has received bookings for 18,000 to 19,000 cars, of which 10,000 to 11,000 are yet to be delivered. Garg declined to say by when the company will be able to clear the backlog.
According to auto part suppliers to the company, at least two new models are in the works and are slated for launch in the next calendar year in the sedan segment. VW’s entry in the volume segment has helped it increase overall sales. In the nine months ending September, VW expects to sell 25,000-26,000 cars. It had sold 200 cars in 2007, 1,600 in 2008 and 3,000 in 2009.
One of the challenges for the VW brand in India will be the capability to have an expansive sales and distribution outlet, according to Mohit Arora, executive director at JD Power Asia Pacific Inc., Singapore. “While all the VW brands have been gaining traction, for the volumes models like Polo and Vento, the challenge lies in establishing a huge network,” Arora said.