Volkswagen eyes SUV segment in India, to launch Tiguan this year

Volkswagen eyes SUV segment in India, to launch Tiguan this year

Volkswagen is re-launching premium sedan Passat, in addition to its hatchback GTI.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Automobile major Volkswagen is planning to strengthen its SUV segment with the launch of its premium model Tiguan in India.

The world's largest car manufacturer looks to scale up its presence in the Indian market. It is reintroducing its premium sedan Passat this year, in addition to its newly unveiled performance-oriented hatchback GTI. The company in one of its recent announcements said it is eyeing at positioning itself as an "accessible premium car brand" in the world’s fourth-largest automobile market.

"Tiguan as our first premium SUV, comes into an area where we see more and more people investing in such cars. That will be the first step for us into that domain of SUVs," said Michael Mayer, Volkswagen Group Sales India, Director VW Passenger Cars.

Underscoring that Volkswagen looks to establish itself “as an accessible premium car brand", Mayer said: "this is a turf that we need to own. We need to be the ones and we see some manufacturers, competitors trying to get into that with lots of efforts."

"From a brand value perspective; we are there. Now we need to start widening our product portfolio ... We also need to go into SUVs too. We are heavily working on it. Whether it is in sub-4 metre compact segment or not, we will have to see," Mayer said.

Tiguan is expected to give competition to Ford Endeavour and Toyota Fortuner, priced from Rs.25.92 lakh to up to Rs.31.12 lakh.

Volkswagen Tiguan is built on VW's Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform. It has a 2.0-litre TDI engine, mated to a 7-speed DSG transmission unit.

Indicating Volkswagen’s future plans in India, Mayer said: "For us as a brand, 2017 is a key milestone. We will extend the VW brand in 2017. We will become a full range manufacturer from Polo to Passat -- from a small hatchback to an executive sedan."

"Now we start building that upper end of the scale. These segments are smaller volumes, we are not aiming to push volumes there, but we think we can credibly get customers into the VW brands for the Passat as an executive sedan," Mayer said.

Passat will compete with Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Skoda Superb. VW is reintroducing Passat in India after the company stopped its sales in 2013.

Another German carmaker, Audi, is also betting big on the Indian automobile market, as it plans to launch 10 models in India by the end of this year.

These luxury car manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen and BMW have been competing against one another to occupy the maximum market share. Audi has set the target of regaining its pole position with the introduction of the two new models for the year.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, is also planning to enhance its dealership networks and service centres in India to target maximum market share in the domestic market.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Feb 23, 2017 12:00 IST