Ashish Gupta, the newly appointed brand director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, had a long drawn conversation with Express Drives. In this conversation, he touched upon topics like the upcoming Volkswagen Taigun, brand perception, sales touchpoints as well as extended drives. If you haven’t, read the story right here. In this conversation, we also asked him about electric cars. Especially so because Volkswagen globally is known to be one of the early adopters of battery vehicle technology. Ashish said that
The strategy we have as a part of the global push for electrification has been a huge success. We are now the largest player in terms of electrics in Europe and last year 2020 was a big year for the ID family of cars there. The sales actually grew from 70,000 in 2019 to 2.60 lakh, so three-fold in Greece. So, the product lineup is there globally, it's just a question of whether you have the ecosystem in India, whether the market is ready with those kinds of price points that we are looking at and whether we can bring those products which would make sense at their price points. There's no point getting a huge number of those cars and then to not find any takers. We will look at how the ecosystem develops in India and then keep testing with a fleet of cars. We're looking at bringing a limited volume of electric cars somewhere down the line and see how it does. It will also give us a learning opportunity on what changes need to be done in the task. So, it’s definitely on the cards and we will bring our global portfolio of electric cars at the right time.
With this statement, it is quite clear that while brands under the Volkswagen umbrella like Audi are ready to bring in their electric vehicles to India real soon, VW might take some time. Ashish further explained that
I think clearly the focus right now is on making this SUVW strategy successful first and we do not want to look at too many alternatives. We have a task at hand, we have great products and we have a solid strategy in place for the next three to four years and I would rather make that successful. There are elements in our team who look at all these new areas that we can expand into and we will continue on that front
It is likely that India might see the first Volkswagen-branded electric car sometime in 2026. In 2016, Volkswagen globally had said that they will be making only Battery Electric Vehicles or BEVs by 2030. India, one of the largest car markets in the world, will definitely play a huge role in this consumption. We expect the country’s infrastructure to improve significantly over the next few years as many carmakers are taking the initiative to tie-up with independent service providers for EV charging infrastructure. Manufacturers like Hyundai, Tata, Mahindra have got their latest products in the Indian market, while this month, MG also got in the updated ZS EV. Jaguar is ready to launch the i-Pace whereas Mercedes already has the EQC. This is a positive sign and should push the adoption of EVs even more in the country. Again, this is something that Volkswagen or any other manufacturer will not want to discount.
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