Volkswagen keen to set up shop in Visakhapatnam

Thursday, 25 September 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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HYDERABAD: German automotive major Volkswagen AG may locate its green-field automobile plant in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

After holding discussions with Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, a high-level team is visiting the city, where it wants to set up the plant in the proposed Special Economic Zone.

Naidu, at his meeting with a two-member team led by Volkswagen India Project team head Helmuth Schuster, Wednesday reportedly offered a slew of sops to the largest car manufacturer in Europe.

The government, which has been trying to persuade the company for more than a year to set up shop in the state, rolled out a red carpet to the team while Naidu hosted a dinner.

Minister for Major Industries K. Vidyadhar Rao appeared optimistic after Wednesday's meeting between the chief minister and the team but said the company had not yet taken a final decision.

The team will visit Visakhapatnam on Friday to explore the possibility of locating its first unit in India in the city, which the government is trying to project as an ideal investment destination.

The team will stay in the state till Saturday to hold further talks with the government.

However, it is still not clear whether the German giant will set up a plant to manufacture cars or light commercial vehicles or a car assembly unit.

State government officials said the company was still in the process of evaluating the infrastructure available and were discussing logistics before deciding the nature of the unit and also the final location.

The company, which has been scouting for location in India for a long time, is holding simultaneous discussions with the government of Tamil Nadu. It is also reportedly considering locations in Rajasthan, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The company, which has a manufacturing base in China, is reportedly keen to make its proposed unit in India its Asian hub. It is likely to invest 20 billion in India.

Source: IANS
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