With the launch of new SUVs, Volkswagen looks to post 58% in 2021

German carmaker Volkswagen is looking to post a 58% growth in sales in India in 2021, albeit on a low base, as its newly launched sport utility vehicles (SUVs) Taigun and Tiguan bring incremental sales.

The company planned to sell over 30,000 units this year, but a shortage of semiconductors limited production, said Ashish Gupta, Brand Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India. He was speaking on the side lines of the launch of the new Tiguan, the brand’s flagship car in India. The model will be imported into India as completely knocked-down (CKD) kits and assembled at Skoda Auto Volkswagen India’s Aurangabad plant.

With full-year sales of the Taigun and Tiguan coming in next year, coupled with the launch of a new sedan based on the same platform as the upcoming Slavia from sister brand Skoda, Volkswagen looks to surpass pre-Covid sales in India.

While the company is working on India-specific combustion engine cars as part of its India 2.0 plan, Volkswagen has no plans of launching an electric car in India before 2025-26. This is when the company expects electric vehicles (EV) to account for about 8% of the market, generating a “critical volume” for it to invest in bringing its own EVs to the country, Gupta said.

“Any plan which involves a transformation of mobility cannot be a short term plan implemented over one or two years,” Gupta told ET. “The kind of investments required is huge and when Volkswagen comes with its electric portfolio, we have to make sure it is at the heart of the market and it is successful.”

The Volkswagen brand has been working on consolidating its sales network in India with fewer, financially strong dealers operating multiple outlets and has now pruned the number of dealers in its network to 57 from 73 in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of customer touchpoints has gone up to 150 from 115.

This, Gupta says, was enough to retail about 100,000 cars a year.

The German group has also been piloting to combine servicing of Skoda and VW cars at same service outlets to reduce the cost for operations for dealers and increase the presence of both the brands. However, using the same dealerships for both the brands was out of question as the group looks to keep both the brands independent in India.


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