Mumbai: German auto major Volkswagen is setting up a major car manufacturing facility in Pune, Christian Wulff, the minister-president (chief minister) of the German state of Lower Saxony, said.
Volkswagen's US facility, meanwhile, is planning a road tour of its hydrogen fuel cell car, the HyMotion Tiguan. The German auto major hopes to emerge the world's number one car maker in the next ten years.
Germany was keen to develop an international exhibition ground in Mumbai for hosting trade fairs, adding that his state plans to open a separate office to facilitate business with Maharashtra, Wulff told state governor S C Jamir at Raj Bhavan.
Wulff, who is leading a 100-strong business delegation to India, said Volkswagen aims to leverage the Indian market in its bid to expand its global market share.
Wulff said a German unversity is opening a branch in Pune and wanted to attract Indian students. Jamir, however, told the German minister that the state had abundant skilled human resources and assured him that the state will make every effort to provide favourable atmosphere for investors coming to Maharashtra.
Lower Saxony, Wulff said, is building one of the biggest ports in Germany and added that his state would welcome Indian investments in the state.
The Herndon-based car maker said the road show of the car will run from Portland, Maine to Los Angeles, passing through 31 cities to showcase a new environmentally friendly fuel that emits nothing more than water vapor.
Volkswagen is making the trek with more than two-dozen partnering organisations and companies, including other auto companies such as BMW, Honda and Nissan and entities like the National Hydrogen Association, Army and Environmental Protection Agency.
The 13-day show is sponsored by the US departments of transportation and energy along with the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association.
Volkswagen group company Skoda Auto India reported a 34.8 per cent growth in its sales during September 2008 with sales rising to 1,213 units against 900 units in the same month last year. Its flagship model-Skoda Fabia-recorded sales of 486 units.
The Czech company, which came to India in November 2001, has a manufacturing facility, spread over 300,000 square metres, at Shendra near Aurangabad. The company aims to launch SUVs, MUVs and a car that would be priced below their Fabia model.
Skoda India will also be expanding its dealership across the country. Currently, it has 56 dealerships and by 2009, it will be increased to 75 countrywide. The company currently sells four models in the country, including the Fabia hatchback, the Octavia, Laura and Superb sedans in the price range of Rs. 4.8 lakh to Rs. 24 lakh.