Whereas it decides on its path forward, Volkswagen will maintain its portfolio contemporary with just a few CBU fashions.
With the launch of the Virtus sedan, Volkswagen Group’s India 2.zero challenge stands full. Apart from unifying its Indian operations below Skoda’s administration, the challenge, launched about 4 years in the past, was to additionally localise and introduce the newer modular MQB platform to India and construct 4 automobiles – a midsize SUV and a midsize sedan every for Skoda and Volkswagen.
The 4 vehicles would assist the corporate fill a line-up riddled with large gaps. Between the 2 firms, their mass-segment portfolio consisted of only one hatchback and two sedans, all constructed on the outdated PQ25 platform, and notably not a single mass-segment SUV.
With the Skoda Kushaq and Slavia and the VW Taigun and Virtus, each manufacturers now have a more healthy mass-market line-up, however there’s nonetheless lots to be accomplished. Skoda is working in direction of what it tentatively calls the India 2.5 challenge, below which it plans a sub-4m SUV. Curiously, nevertheless, model VW is but to verify its participation in that programme.
Extra mass section?
On the launch of the Virtus, Martina Biene, head of product line G1 (Small and compact automobiles) at Volkswagen AG, spoke to Autocar India concerning the model’s plans to participate within the India 2.5 programme. “We’re attempting to get our head round what’s the subsequent step for us for India? It is type of, can we wish to develop on that platform (MQB-A0-IN) or is it a step into electrical automobiles,” stated Biene.
That, primarily, is the crux of the matter – make investments additional into the mass section or pour cash into electrification? And it’s a conundrum going through almost each different automaker in India, together with EV market chief Tata Motors, which needed to increase exterior funding to pursue each, ICE and EV platforms.
What makes the choice extra perplexing for Volkswagen is that, after having burned a number of funds in India, it’s going to now have to choose properly, as each an growth of the MQB platform in addition to an electrical platform are technically – if not financially – viable paths.
The modular MQB-A0-IN platform can simply underpin further physique kinds, and with localisation effectively above the 90 % mark, the proposition to spend money on further fashions on the MQB will definitely be tempting. Nevertheless, VW is aware of it’s going to now be a late mover into most of those segments and should go up in opposition to many established rivals.
That’s the place the electrical transfer comes into play. Final yr, the corporate showcased its ID. Life idea automotive constructed utilizing the agency’s new modular electrical platform – MEB. The German automaker says it may accommodate small vehicles and small vans too, and that it might launch the small MEB-based electrical hatch in Europe by 2025 at a value of round €20,000 (Rs 16.5 lakh)
“It’s definitely a possible candidate for India and Brazil too”, says Biene, however VW India’s EV journey wouldn’t start with the small electrical automotive. “We’d enter the Indian market not with a small one however one thing bigger and imported, and once we go for an electrical automobile that’s regionally produced, I feel small is an possibility.” Certainly, the model is effectively underway with its plans of introducing the ID.4 as a CBU and native testing is all set to start this yr.
With electrification seemingly gathering shopper curiosity in India at a quick tempo, it’s possible that VW will go down the electrical path fairly than attempting to play catch up within the mass ICE area. Until then, the model can be exploring bringing in a restricted variety of CBU fashions.
The CBU play
To recall, Volkswagen has been fairly lively with CBU imports and has not shied away from bringing in smaller fashions just like the Polo GTI, which it launched in 2016 in restricted numbers. “Whereas we debate on one other step into combustion or when can we transfer into electrical, we might additionally prefer to up the portfolio with one or different imports in some smaller numbers to please the followers,” stated Biene.
As we had reported earlier, heading this checklist would be the return of the Polo GTI. Thus, as issues stand, whereas the Virtus marks the top of the India 2.zero challenge, it additionally alerts the beginning of VW’s new journey in India, a troublesome path however one with seemingly many fascinating choices.
Would you prefer to see extra MQB-A0-IN platform-based fashions from Volkswagen or do you are feeling electrical ought to be their manner forward? Tell us within the feedback under.