Volkswagen India began production of its much anticipated mid-sized sedan, the Volkswagen Vento last evening at its plant in Chakan near Pune. Vento is the first car from the Volkswagen brand which has been designed keeping in mind the special needs of Indian customers and will be exclusively manufactured in India. The time-frame leading up to the official start of production of the Volkswagen Vento is unusual as it is only a year since the Volkswagen plant at Chakan started production. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Joerg Mueller, Volkswagen Group Chief Representative India and President and Managing Director Volkswagen India Private Limited, said, “India is a strategic long-term growth market for the Volkswagen Group. The start of production of the Vento is more than just the roll-out of a car. Not only does it mark another milestone in our journey together into a successful future for the Volkswagen Group but also reiterates Volkswagen’s commitment to India. In fact, in the last 3 years, the Volkswagen Group has launched a new model in India every two months which reflects our strong belief in the potential of the market here.” Volkswagen aims to achieve a market share of eight to ten percent in the next four to six years with the three Volkswagen Group brands, Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen through ambitious plans for India. The Vento is the 18th model from the Volkswagen Group in India of which 3 are fully produced (in Pune) and 8 are assembled (in Aurangabad). Mr Mueller added, “These products – and in particular the Volkswagen Polo and Volkswagen Vento – will help Volkswagen increase its market share in this rapidly growing market significantly. Volkswagen is also in line with the planned ramp-up curve of achieving the full annual production capacity of 110,000 cars at the plant by end 2011.” A month ago the second shift was introduced and there was an increase in the number of employees to more than 2000 to satisfy the continuously high demand for the Polo and the expected additional demand for the Vento. Vento is a complete made in India car with the longest wheel-base in the premium mid-size sedan segment making it exceedingly comfortable for the rear-seated passengers- a need for most Indian customers in this segment. After launching its compact car Polo in February this year, the Vento is Volkswagen’s second car targeting the mass market. It will be positioned at the upper-end of the country's mid-sized sedan segment. With the introduction of the Vento, Volkswagen will now offer cars to suit the needs of all kinds of customers in India. Expressing his gratitude to the employees on the occasion Mr. Mueller said, “The Vento is a true reflection of our motto “Best Hands behind the Best in Class”. It would not have been possible for us to start the production of the Vento in record time without your hard work and support. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to every single employee who has contributed in making the Vento a reality in India and helping us write another glowing chapter in Volkswagen’s India journey.” The Pune plant is a key element in Volkswagen’s India strategy. The scale of investment, commissioning local suppliers and employing people primarily from the region itself demonstrate Volkswagen’s commitment to India. Volkswagen is making an important contribution to the economic development in the region and in the Indian economy in general. Volkswagen also announced the introduction of a second shift of production of the Polo. With a total financial commitment amounting to Rs. 3,800 crores (580 million Euros), the Volkswagen plant in Pune is the largest investment to date by a German company in India.