Volkswagen to launch four SUVs in India in next two years

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on December 06, 2019

Steffen Knapp, Director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars India. Photo: Paul Noronha   -  BusinessLine

To showcase them at New Delhi Auto Show

German automotive major Volkswagen is planning to introduce four sports utility vehicles in India over the next two years, with the first SUV by middle of 2020.

The global automotive major plans to showcase them all at the New Delhi Auto Expo to be held early next year. This includes one of A0 platform, a Creta segment SUV, to be launched in 2021.

Steffen Knapp, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, said, “the Volkswagen Group had outlined an investment of about ₹8,000 crore in 2018 up to the year 2022, for its group, and the launch of new models will be part of the overall investments in India, which includes an R&D centre in Pune.”

Interacting here after setting up its 20th corporate business centre in the country at Hyderabad, Knapp, said, “We have set a modest target of 3 per cent share of the country’s passenger vehicle market and we believe we are on course to achieving that target over the next two-three years.”

Tough phase

The SUV range, which the company plans to offer in India, comes across several segments, including a mid-sized one and a large SUV.

“We will continue the existing models, including Polo, Vento, Tiguan and launch in new ones. With BS VI norms set to come in by April 1, 2020, we will stop producing all BS IV vehicles in India from December end. Thereafter, we will offer petrol version of BS VI cars initially and then later diesel versions. The BS VI transition will mean cost hike of about 12-15 per cent for diesel vehicles and 5 per cent for petrol range,” he explained.

“It may not be easy for automotive companies to pass on all the costs to the consumer. The change on norm from BS IV to BS VI is likely to have an impact on the sales volumes in the market in both the first and second quarters of 2020. The sector is already passing through a tough phase,” he said.

Pune R&D centre

Referring to the R&D centre at Pune, he said “We plan to have about 5,000 engineers at the centre over a period. Currently it operates with about 650 engineers. This centre will help us design cars that are not just India specific but also for some global requirements.”

“There has been a perception in the minds of people that Volkswagen cars are costlier to own. We have addressed this with innovative schemes, which brings down the total cost of ownership with four-year warranty. This along with reduction in spare parts by about 15 per cent, we are sure will make a huge difference in the market,” he said.

Mentioning about change in perception of car buyers, he said that there are a growing number of buyers who are preferring petrol versions of their cars. At one time, 60 per cent of Polo buyers purchased diesel cars, this has now come down to 12 per cent, reflecting changing times.

“When Volkswagen started its India journey in 2007 with Passat, it was addressing a small segment of car buyers, we are now looking at addressing 100 million population of the country with the existing models and to be launched cars,” he explained.

Published on December 06, 2019

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