Skoda Auto Volkswagen India on Tuesday said it will suspend production at its Chakan plant in Pune for a month from mid-December to mid-January in order to upgrade the facility for new range of products, according to sources. The company -- formerly known as Volkswagen India -- had earlier suspended production for a month from middle of October to mid-November.
When contacted, the company spokesperson said it is taking the step to prepare for next generation of products within the INDIA 2.0 project.
"Several upgrades are in progress at our facilities to accommodate changes in the production lines for MQB A0 IN platform. We are systematically planning our non-production days to sustainably meet our customer deliveries without any delay," the spokesperson said when asked about the suspension of work at the plant.
While the spokesperson did not confirm the period of closure, industry sources confirmed the suspension of production from mid-December to align production in preparation of the new range of products.
Earlier this year, Volkswagen Group India had received regulatory and statutory approvals to merge its three passenger car subsidiaries in the country into one entity which would be referred to as Skoda Auto Volkswagen India.
The merged entity, which includes Volkswagen India, Volkswagen Group Sales India and Skoda Auto India, is led by Gurpratap Boparai.
The new company with a strong brand portfolio -- Skoda Auto, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini -- is envisioned to serve across market segments and budgets.
However, the group has been struggling to make its mark in the Indian mass market segment.
In April-October period this year, Volkswagen India clocked sales of just 17,733 units, down 17.01 per cent from the year-ago period. On the other hand, Skoda Auto sold 8,114 units, down 18.2 per cent from the same period a year ago.
The Pune-headquartered company operates two production facilities in Pune and Aurangabad, and has regional offices in Mumbai, New Delhi and other locations across the country.
In July 2018, the Volkswagen Group announced investments of around EUR 1 billion as part of the India 2.0 project.
In January this year, the company opened a new technology centre in Pune to develop vehicles based on the localised MQB-A0-IN subcompact platform, tailored to the requirements of local customers.
As part of fresh model introduction strategy in the country, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India plans to drive in a mid-size SUV model which would be sold from both Skoda and Volkswagen sales outlets.