Volkswagen eyes 15 per cent growth in production this year

Placing its bets on the soon to-be-launched compact sedan Ameo, German automaker Volkswagen is eyeing a 15 per cent rise in production volume in India this year as against 1.23 lakh units produced in 2015.

The auto major, which is also battling the diesel emission scandal globally, as a consequence denies any move to cut jobs at its manufacturing plant at Chakan in Pune. "There is an increase of about 15 per cent in production volume expected at the Volkswagen Pune plant in 2016 as compared to 2015," says Volkswagen India President and Managing Director Andreas Lauermann.

The increase is expected from the company’s new model Ameo which is intended purely for the domestic market right now as well as some additional volumes for export markets.

The new model, whose production has not started yet, would compete with the likes of Maruti DZire, Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent and Ford Figo Aspire that are priced between Rs 5.21 and Rs 8.57 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Last year, the plant's maximum production capacity in a two-shift system stood at 1,30,000 cars per annum and 1,23,456 cars were actually produced. Since March, the manufacturing plant is operating in a three-shift system.

When asked about the reports that suggested the firm is looking to cut jobs at the plant, Lauermann said: "Volkswagen India recently announced the start of the third shift to support the additional production volumes. To meet this higher production volumes, Volkswagen India has also hired additional workforce at its plant in Chakan and the company is not willing to cut down on the workforce."

In fact, the company is aiming for a growth in production of about 15 per cent in calendar year 2016 as compared to 2015, he added. The company employs around 1,700 direct confirmed workers at the Chakan plant, which rolled out 69,000 cars for export markets in 2015, and exports to over 35 countries in North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

Models like Polo and Vento for the domestic as well as export markets in both right-hand drive and left-hand drive versions are manufactured at the facility. Additionally, the Skoda Rapid is also produced at the same facility.