Volkswagen aims to strengthen India presence with five launches in next two years, besides focusing on improving service quality at its existing network. Michael Mayer, director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, tells Shaikh Zoaib Saleem that the brand will always be more expensive than others, even though it does not want to be seen as niche. Excerpts
What is your sales growth outlook for the current financial year?
We have been growing. And I am talking about the calendar year; the financial year could be even better. We are looking to continue on the growth path. In all fairness, we should admit last year’s low-base effect. So some growth is natural. But we are looking at continuous,not explosive, growth. And that is driven by the product portfolio. We are going to increase our product portfolio by five cars in the next 24 months.
Do you plan to ramp up dealer network in the light of strong sales over the last few months?
At the moment, no. we are focusing on developing this network to deliver the best sales and service proposition to Indian customers. We are not yet there. That is a long way to cover. But we have made substantial progress. So, first, the quality and then, of course, we will have to go to more tier 2 and tier 3 cities. That is going to happen, though not immediately. I am not interested in growing the numbers by 20% in 2015. Our work with partners has to be profitable.
There is negative perception around Volkswagen’s after-sales service. How do you plan to deal with that?
If you want to be the best, you have to fight the best. We are a very young network, just five years old. We have an internal programme running, to get customer satisfaction, we have to get one more notch higher and this is our focus at the moment with the current network. Rejuvenation of the network and the quality upgrade with some clear programmes focused on our sales and service process on customer friendliness, which are very normal, but we need to strive to become the best, which we are not yet, that is absolutely right.