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File photo of Steffen Knapp (L) with Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the board for Volkswagen brand responsible for sales, with the Taigun SUV.
File photo of Steffen Knapp (L) with Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the board for Volkswagen brand responsible for sales, with the Taigun SUV.

Exclusive: Volkswagen India bets on Taigun, used car segment to pave way ahead

  • Steffen Knapp, Director - Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, tells HT Auto that preference for SUVs in the country will persist.
  • Knapp also highlights how people who previously had no access to individual mobility can now fuel demand for used cars.

Volkswagen Passenger Cars India may have an uphill task at hand, much like every other automaker across the globe in Covid-19 times, but it remains committed to its plans under the India 2.0 project that was announced by the Volkswagen Group earlier in 2020.

The Volkswagen Group had announced it would merge all its passenger car entities in India earlier in the year with the restructuring being touted as a significant milestone in the Skoda-led ‘India 2.0’ project. The objective is to strengthen the Volkswagen Group’s position here by increasing efficiency in existing synergies. And despite the challenges thrown up by Covid-19-related developments, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India remains firmly committed to the idea, processes and objectives.

Speaking to HT Auto on Friday, Steffen Knapp, Director - Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, admitted that there are massive tasks at hand but that the current crisis has the potential of throwing up opportunities. "In such an environment, liquidity is key and you have to revisit your investments. The good news I have to deliver to the Indian market is that our India 2.0 project is absolutely untouched. We are on track to deliver these products because we know that it is a pivotal backbone of our strategy in India to become a sustainable brand. We are going forward with our plans," he said.

Volkswagen had previously announced that it would drive in four SUVs in India in two years. Knapp took the opportunity to highlight India's growing preference towards SUVs and is confident of success of vehicles like Taigun and even the comparatively more expensive T-Roc. "I think the major push is in the smaller categories with lower ticket sizes in the market," he said. "Indians are more focused on the classical, robust, masculine type of SUV which has a higher ground clearance, a more rectangular front. The SUV trend will persist. The only thing you have to do is go for smaller SUVs and that is exactly what we want to do with India 2.0 and will launch the Taigun which is a compact SUV," he explained.

Taigun SUV has been specifically designed for the Indian market.
Taigun SUV has been specifically designed for the Indian market.

Taigun is expected to be launched in India in 2021 and will compete against the likes of Vitara Brezza, Venue and XUV300.

And while Knapp felt the preference for such SUVs is here to stay, he also points out the possible boom in the used car business. "There will be a push towards smaller cars, more accessible cars. The second push, and that is where we are betting at Volkswagen here in India, is the used car business. The used car business anyhow had a push in organised forms but here now you have huge opportunity to offer accessible mobility to customers. Accessible, high-quality checked vehicles, fully sanitized at a price range for customers who are now looking at individual mobility," he said.

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