European auto major Volkswagen expects at least 60 per cent of its sales in India to come from the SUV segment by 2024 amid the market globally moving away from sedans. Volkswagen, which launched the 7-seater premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) Tiguan Allspace on Friday as part of its India Project 2.0, is planning to roll out three more such vehicles in the next 12-18 months. The world’s largest carmaker is trying to revive its fortunes in the domestic automobile space, in which it has a meagre around 1 per cent market share with Skoda-led India 2.0 plan.
“I think we will be (selling) around 60 per cent SUVs going forward. Globally, we have today about 42 per cent of all our cars in SUVs.”I would assume, in India, it could go even up to 70 per cent by 2024,” Volkswagen Passenger Cars India Director Steffen Knapp told PTI.
Knapp said this would also depend on what is happening in the market, adding, “I believe that all around the world, we are going into 70-75 per cent…. So, there will be another category coming, the SUV and CUV (cross utility vehicle), as higher seating position is the future. Because it (market) is moving away from sedans.”Volkswagen sells hatchback Polo, sedan Vento and Tiguan SUV in the domestic market along with Tiguan Allspace now.
Under the Rs 8,000-crore India 2.0 Project, the car maker is aiming to corner a combined 5 per cent market share of the total domestic passenger vehicle segment by 2025 with India-specific products through a dedicated platform, MQB A0 IN.”We believe that the SUV is the future body style as also in India for the VW. If you look at Volkswagen strategy all around the world, we are not the first ones. So, we always kind of wait and then we top it, ” he said. Tiguan Allspace will be followed by T-Roc compact SUV, he said. “What we found out is if you want to move your brand upwards, which we need to do, you need to be top of the volume. You need to have more SUVs,” he added.
On the outlook, Knapp said he is expecting the market to come back into “normal waters” from July onwards, though in the first two months of the year, the passenger car sales have seen a de-growth of 5 per cent on account of coronavirus and subsequent supply-chain issues with some of the manufacturers.”We believe that from July onwards, we should come into normal waters again… Now, this situation in China and around the world, obviously, we have to reassess. We have some manufacturers who went down by 55-60 per cent. And, this is basically either they are changing models, or they are having huge issues with the supply chain. So, it is very very difficult,” Knapp said.
He, however, exuded confidence that the market will rebound, adding that Volkswagen’s Rs 8,000-crore investment plan in India remains on track.”We are sticking to that…all is rolling in the right direction. We are already refurbishing our production line to the MQB platform. So, everything is on track. There’s no change in plan because it’s fundamental to us. This is the chance for us to move us into the next level,” he said.
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