Volkswagen launched its newest mid-size SUV in the Indian market, the Taigun, priced at ₹10.49 lakh onwards. The new Taigun enters a segment dominated by the Koreans – Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos – and its own sibling, the recently launched Skoda Kushaq. Vehicles in the mid-size SUV segment need to strike a fine balance between affordability, performance, and features, making it a competitive segment.
Volkswagen clearly has big expectations to live up to, while having its own, in terms of sales and performance. Speaking to Ashish Gupta, the Brand Director of Volkswagen India, we understand more. For starters, Volkswagen did promotional drives in various cities, and the carmaker was able to gain 1000 bookings just there.
Ashish says, “If you talk about Bangalore, I had a lot of techies walking in and they were so well-informed about the Taigun. We moved to Chennai, and more family-oriented consumers came in touch. In Hyderabad, a more upwardly mobile, techie crowd. In Chandigarh – We came across people who like the robustness of the SUV. At Coimbatore, again family-oriented people came with their entire family to see the car.”
The new Taigun is built on the same MQB A0 IN platform that underpins the new Skoda Kushaq. The platform is 30% more rigid when compared to the Volkswagen Polo and the Vento, helping the Taigun handle better, and making it a safer package. Ashish says, “People come in, and they say it is a true VW car. In general, they doubt if corners have been cut in the name of localisation, but they admit it is a true Volkswagen in every sense. They say that they still feel the same thud from the door and the same robustness.”
Two days before the launch of the Taigun, Volkswagen managed to garner around 11,000 bookings. Volkswagen is looking at selling 5000 units of the Taigun a month, but the bookings received to date have surpassed expectations for the carmaker. Speaking of the number of bookings, Ashish says, “beyond our expectations” as these numbers came in much before the official prices were announced.
He added, “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% when compared to last year. This might not be the right growth rate as 2020 was a slow year for sales. However, I want the segment to continue growing with a CAGR of around 15-20%, which means the segment would reach around 4,80,000-5,00,000 units a year by 2022. And we are eyeing a 10% segment share, roughly translating to 5,000 cars every month.”
Ashish said, “The new Curcuma Yellow seems to be the most loved. In fact, we had to increase the number of models produced for the very colour scheme. But as expected, the White and Silver paint schemes are getting good traction.” The new Taigun is available in five shades, namely Curcuma Yellow, Candy White, Wild Cherry Red, Carbon Steel Grey, and Reflex Silver.
Given that the Taigun is offered with two engine options — a 113 bhp 1.0-litre TSI unit and a more powerful 148 bhp 1.5-litre TSI motor, we wanted to know what customers were looking for. The Taigun is also available with a 6-speed manual, 6-speed AT, and a 7-speed DSG to choose from. Ashish said, “the numbers received so far are 40% for the 1.5-litre variant and 60% for 1.0-litre trim.” However, this trend might change soon, since the prices are out.
Taking the features into consideration, the Volkswagen Taigun is equipped with a digital instrument cluster that’s fully customisable, wireless charging, a sunroof, touchscreen infotainment system with wireless smartphone connectivity, all of them on par with the competition. On this, Ashish said, “Consumers want a VW car to be loaded with a certain level of equipment. We forwarded this feedback to the team, and the variant line-up was planned accordingly. In the Indian market, customers expect a certain level of premium-ness from a VW car with minimum creature comfort and safety equipment.”
The Taigun does not skimp on safety though. The VW gets 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, hill hold assist, electronic stability control, an electronic differential lock, TPMS, multi-collision brakes, ISOFIX anchors, and brake disc wiping. The Taigun is well-equipped.