How Volkswagen is planning for Taigun’s success: Maintenance, accessories, price explained

In a conversation with Ashish Gupta, Brand Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, we managed to get some interesting insights on the Taigun's maintenance cost, accessories, and more.

By:Updated: Sep 24, 2021 3:38 PM
Interview with Ashish Gupta

The Volkswagen Taigun was officially launched today in India with the price announcement for the entire range. The Taigun is now on sale starting from Rs 10.49 lakh for the 1.0 L versions and Rs 14.99 lakh for the 1.5 L versions and topping out at Rs 17.49 lakh for the top variant. While the market will decide soon whether Volkswagen has got the pricing right or not, the SUV is already off to a great start with over 12,000 bookings before the launch. This clearly indicates that the Taigun has been received well on basis of its design, driving dynamics, and features. That said, the Taigun has a tough journey ahead as it’ll need to fight with the likes of the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and its sibling Skoda Kushaq as well. In order to know how Volkswagen is planning to overcome this challenge and make the Taigun successful we caught up with Ashish Gupta, Brand Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India. Here’s an excerpt of the conversation.

Express Drives:
Now you are almost on the verge of launching the Taigun. So when can the customers expect the delivery?

Ashish Gupta:
On the 23rd September, we are announcing the price and our dealers will start delivering the vehicles immediately. The deliveries will be in the order of booking, and we will ensure it with our dealers.

Ashish Gupta, Brand Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars IndiaAshish Gupta, Brand Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India

How many bookings have you received as of now?

As of today, we are two days away from the launch. We are close to 11,000 pre-bookings already and are expecting to cross the 12,000 mark by the time of the price reveal. Bookings at the time of the launch were at 12,221 mark.

Is this in line with the expectation?

This is, in fact, beyond our expectations, as we still haven’t revealed the prices or the variant line-up. Considering that it is overwhelming. While we organized previews in 8 cities across the country, we received over 1000 pre-bookings during the exercise.

Within these bookings, what kind of trend are you seeing? Where are people putting their money?

For now, we haven’t revealed the prices. Thus, we ask customers about their feedback on the vehicle and the colours. However, the numbers received are 40 per cent for the 1.5L variant and 60 per cent for 1L trim. A shift, however, will be seen once we announce the prices.

You said, you haven’t announced the variants and prices yet. But can you tell us about the variants, how you’ve planned them for the Taigun?

For now, you already know we have two engine variants. For the trim options, it is certainly based on the consumer feedback that we have been receiving in the recent past. Consumers want a VW car to be loaded with a certain level of equipment. We have forwarded this feedback to the team and the variant line-up has been planned accordingly.

Yes, we have planned a very robust accessory strategy as well. In fact, we have more than 100 accessories lined up for the Taigun. Also, around 6 accessory packages for the Taigun. Starting from the basic ones – floor mats, trunk mats etc, the accessory packages will include sports accessories and roof accessories. There will be a total of 6-8 accessory packages for customers to choose from.

Gurpratap Boparai and Ashish Gupta with Volkswagen Taigun

What your expectations are in terms of sales? What kind of percentage are you looking at in the compact-SUV segment?

Currently, the compact and mid-size SUV segment is in the range of around 4,00,000 cars a year. But it is also growing tremendously. It has grown by roughly 75 per cent when compared to last year. This might not be the right growth rate as 2020 was a slow year for sales. However, I expect the segment to continue with a CAGR of around 15-20 per cent, which means the segment would reach around 4,80,000-5,00,000 units a year by 2022. From this pie, we are eyeing a 10 per cent segment share, roughly translating to 5,000 cars every month.

There has generally been a conception that VW cars are expensive to maintain. For the Taigun, what measures is the company taking in this aspect?

Some of this feedback is relevant and hold true as well, which we have taken on board right from the project’s initial stage. We actually started to take general measures to improve the ownership experience from 2018 itself with the Forever Care program. It is standard on our vehicle range and comprises of a 4-year warranty, 4-year roadside assistance, and 3 free services. This will be standard on the Taigun as well. We also have the option of extended warranty and there will be competitively priced extended warranty packages for the Taigun as well.

The meat of bringing down the cost of ownership is via the designing process, which includes high levels of localization for the Taigun. This way our part prices are lower. Here, we have focused on child parts. Earlier, we used to change the whole assembly on our vehicles in case of a breakdown. Now, with the concept of child parts, we can change a smaller part, instead of the assembly thus, bringing down the cost of repairing. Also, we’ve reduced the parts prices by 15-18 per cent. For petrol engines, we’ve reduced the engine oil prices by 35 per cent. With all these efforts, we have brought down the cost of ownership by 20 per cent on average. And these measures will continue on the Taigun as well as our upcoming sedan on the MQB AO-IN platform.

Also, we have designed service value packs for our vehicles, including the Taigun. The packages will start from roughly Rs. 6,000 only.

You also spoke about the sedan earlier. What kind of prospects do you see from your India-based (MQB AO IN) platform as a second product, since the sedan segment has been shrinking over the last few years.

The sedan segment is not growing like it used to. However, we should also understand that the customer has a limited choice today but hatchbacks and sedans have been the strength of Volkswagen globally. While SUVs are the new trend of the season, Volkswagen has a good portfolio of sedans and hatchbacks. So we will be bringing a car to India that will redefine the segment. I have seen this car personally, it is beautiful. I am confident that it will help the segment boom.

When can we expect the upcoming sedan?

Currently, our plan is to showcase it by second-quarter of next year.

You did customer showcases across 8 cities. Tell us a bit about the response and did you manage to get the kind of traction you anticipated?

More than expected. In these tough times, we followed all the protocols during the 8 city drive that lasted 16 days. We had an overwhelming response. Over 16,000 customers visited us and over 1,000 of them booked the Taigun on spot.

Overall, we experienced different characteristics in every city. One thing which was underlined was that customers came with their family. It also signifies that they are serious about it. It is overwhelming for me. In fact, people checked out the Taigun, went to see other cars, and came back to pre-book the Taigun.

And all of this culminates into a mega show that we are doing in Delhi at Connaught place with over 2,500 Olympics globes in the central park. It will be one of its kind vehicle launches ever, and to only make people talk about it and understand that the Volkswagen Taigun is here.

Volkswagen Taigun Prices

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