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The Volkswagen Polo, which would be introduced in the Indian market by early next year, has been awarded the 2010 European Car of the Year award (ECOTY) award, edging out vehicles like the Toyota iQ, Opel Astra, Skoda Yeti and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. While the Volkswagen Polo took the 1st spot with 347 points in the 2010 ECOTY, the Toyota iQ stood in 2nd place with 337 points, while the Opel/Vauxhall Astra took 3rd, with 221 points. The ECOTY jury comprised 59 auto journalists from 23 European countries.

“The new Polo stands for German engineering, craftsmanship and superior cutting edge technology. The fifth-generation Polo was designed to address customer expectations with even greater uncompromising standards. That is why we are naturally very pleased to see our efforts validated in the form of this award,” said Professor Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Group.

It was reported quite earlier that Volkswagen India has started the trial production of its upcoming small car ‘Polo’ to be launched in India by the fourth quarter of this financial year. It is to be mentioned that the Indian arm of the German auto giant will manufacture Polo as its first local car manufactured in India and which is set to be revealed at the New Delhi Auto Expo 2010. The car will eventually be hitting the showrooms by March next year. It may be recalled that during late April, it has already begun the pre-series production of its mid- the new Polo at its Chakan plant in Pune, where currently Fabia is being rolled out.

The fifth-generation VW Polo is one of the best selling small cars in the world. As far as Volkswagen’s Indian operations are concerned, the company has earlier said that it will be rolling out a hatchback version of Polo, followed by a sedan version.

According to a senior representative of VW India, who spoke to the media earlier, it is eyeing to begin Polo’s commercial production at its new plant at Chakan near Pune by January 2010 and launch it by March next year. He also stated that Polo’s production will commence a little earlier so that the company can keep enough inventories with its dealers. Without giving details on the pricing for the Polo, the representative had earlier mentioned that it will be competitively priced and would be having a high degree of indigenisation by as much as 70-80 per, adding that the car would be available in both sedan and hatchback versions by 2010. He cited that such a strategy will not only bring down the overall costs of the vehicle, but would also help keep the running costs modest with the spare parts costing less.

According to an auto industry observer, “When VW India rolls out Polo by next year, it is highly likely that the car will be offered with a 1.2-litre petrol engine (to qualify for lower excise duties), though a 1.6-litre TDI diesel might also be offered at a later stage. Once launched in the Indian market, Polo could be priced in the range of Rs. 5.5-6.5 lakh, and it’s highly likely that the car will not be as well-equipped as its European sibling, in order to keep prices competitive.”

With a total financial commitment in India amounting to €580 million, the Pune plant represents the largest investment to date by a German company in the country. The facility has a maximum annual production capacity of 110,000 vehicles destined for delivery to the Indian market. The Chakan plant will follow company’s two-shift theory unlike other German plants which work 3-shifts. The company has provision for only 35 per cent of automation as against the 98 per cent of automation it has in Germany.

source: wheelsunplugged

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