July 4, 2007 / 5:46 AM / 11 years ago

Volkswagen sets up India sales office

MUMBAI, July 4 (Reuters) - Germany’s Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) has set up a sales office in India, and plans to ramp up its dealerships in the fast-growing market ahead of the rollout of its first car in the second half of 2007.

Volkswagen, which is investing about $530 million in a plant near the western Indian city of Pune to make up to 110,000 vehicles a year from the second half of 2009, has set up its first sales office in the financial hub Mumbai, it said.

Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt. Ltd. will be an independent distribution company for Volkswagen and the premium Audi brand, and sell locally produced and imported vehicles, it said.

Volkswagen will launch its Passat model that it will assemble locally in its Skoda facility in the second half of 2007, and also import the Touareg sport utility, it said in a statement.

“Our Indian operations will play a significant role in our overall strategic growth,” said Managing Director Joerg Mueller.

Andreas Prinz will head Volkswagen passenger cars at the sales office, it said.

The India team will initially comprise about 60 people, with more employees added in a phased manner over the coming years.

The dealer network will initially set up in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, and expand to more than 10 dealerships in 2008.

Annual sales of passenger vehicles in India are expected to nearly double to 2 million units by 2010.

((Reporting by Rina Chandran, editing by Ranjit Gangadharan; Reuters Messaging: rina.chandran.reuters.com@reuters.net; +91 22 6636 9251)) Keywords: VOLKSWAGEN INDIA/

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