German car manufacturer Volkswagen is planning to expand its product portfolio with four new sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in the next two years for the Indian market. While it will continue to offer its existing products, VW India will be banking on SUVs for its future growth here. With the addition of SUVs, the car major is eyeing a marketshare of 5% from the current 1.4% in next three to five years. According to VW Group Sales India director for passenger cars Steffen Knapp, all the upcoming new models from VW will have SUV body type. “We still have a shaky ground in India. However, we will transform Volkswagen into an SUV brand in India. We will be launching four new SUV models in different categories over next two years,’’ he said.
The rollout is expected to happen during the second quarter and the SUVs would be fully localised and BS VI-compliant as well. “The AO SUV, which is partially based on T-Roc, will be unveiled in 2021 and it will have about 93% of localisation, thus enabling more accessibility and providing value for money to consumers,’’ he said. Under the India 2.0 project, the firm’s new R&D centre will be developing vehicles tailored to the needs of customers here and will also include the development of the MQB A0 IN platform. The first concept car built on this platform will be showcased at the Auto Expo 2020.
The Volkswagen Group has earmarked an investment of about Rs. 8,000 crore in 2018-2022 for launch of new models and R&D centre in Pune. “We will continue the existing models, including Polo, Vento, Tiguan and launch new ones. With BS VI norms set to come in by April 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 may look at diesel versions,” he said. On post-BS VI norms, he said there would be a shift in the automobile industry with the first shift coming in for petrol and the second shift will be a major push towards CNG. He also added after April 2020, there would be a dip in sales and there could be a possible rise in prices of vehicles. The BS VI transition would mean cost hike of about 15% for diesel vehicles and 5% for petrol range, he added.
To a query that VW cars are costlier to own, he said, “We have addressed this issue with innovative schemes, which bring down the total cost of ownership (TCO) with four-year warranty. This along with the reduction in spare parts by about 15%, we will be reaching out to a larger section of the society.’’