Volkswagen Virtus opens innings on strong note, order bank close to 5,500 units 

Volkswagen Virtus competes in the premium mid-size sedan space and is looking at reclaiming some of the territory lost by the segment to SUVs.
By : Shubhodeep Chakravarty
| Updated on: 04 Jul 2022, 10:59 AM
Volkswagen Virtus is taller, longer and wider than any of its rivals, barring cousin Skoda Slavia with which it shares its dimensions.
Volkswagen Virtus is taller, longer and wider than any of its rivals, barring cousin Skoda Slavia with which it shares its dimensions.
Volkswagen Virtus is taller, longer and wider than any of its rivals, barring cousin Skoda Slavia with which it shares its dimensions.
Volkswagen Virtus is taller, longer and wider than any of its rivals, barring cousin Skoda Slavia with which it shares its dimensions.

Volkswagen Virtus has started its India journey on a strong note with 3,000 of the 4,000 bookings made before its June 9 launch and another 3,000 bookings received in all of last month. Competing in the tricky mid-size sedan space that has witnessed a decline in volumes in recent years, Virtus is part of the Volkswagen India 2.0 project.

(Also read: Volkswagen creates national record for single-day deliveries)

Volkswagen has accelerated its moved under the India 2.0 project since launching the Taigun mid-size SUV last year. Taigun and Virtus are the two firm pillars on which the company's prospects here are based. And while Volkswagen claims that Taigun continues to fare well, the Virtus too has been well-received. “At launch, we had close to 4,000 pre-bookings, we have been able to convert 3,000 of them into bookings. In June, we have picked up another fresh 3,000 bookings. Going into July, I have an order bank of 2-2.5 months of 5,000-5,500 with me," Ashish Gupta, Brand Director at Volkswagen India, told HT Auto during an interaction. “That bodes very well in terms of response to the car, truly overwhelming and more than our anticipation. "

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Gupta admits that playing the sedan game in India is tricky but adds that no strong competition in the segment augers well for the model. “We had natural apprehensions when introducing a sedan as the second product in the India 2.0 strategy. SUV is the body style choice. But sedan (segment) became a blind spot spot for this industry and this is the opportunity that the Virtus is going to exploit as there is no strong competition in that segment," he explained.

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Volkswagen Virtus: PricingDynamic Line Performace Line
    17.91 lakh
 Comfortline MT 11.21 lakh 
 Highline MT 12.97 lakh 
 Highline AT 14.27 lakh 
 Topline MT 14.41 lakh 
 Topline AT 15.71 lakh 
   all prices are introductory &
ex-showroom

For now, the two-pronged strategy of having a mid-size SUV and a mid-size sedan appears to be working because Volkswagen doubled its H1 sales numbers this year compared to the same period of last year. And Gupta believes that the growing popularity of premium vehicles should keep Volkswagen in good stead. “As per booking trends, 40% bookings for the Virtus are for GT variant and 60% for 1-litre variants, and even in this, higher demand is for the top-line variant," Gupta revealed. “If you look at the trend of how premiumization has moved in the Indian market, in the first half of this year, almost 40% of cars sold in the India are about 10 lakhs. This is double of what happened in 2018. Very clearly, the premiumization for Indian market is well on its way."

But while potential customers may be willing to pay more for a loaded and premium vehicle, can brands deliver units in current times of component shortage? Gupta confesses that Volkswagen can deliver more than what it is at present but the global challenges are an obstacle. “I have the potential and a demand to be able to sell 5,500 to 6,000 cars per month but I am able to deliver only 3,500 to 4,000 units. It’s a clear 40 per cent gap in what the demand is and what we are able to sell," he admits. “It is only because of selective components – shortages of infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters and to some extent ECUs that go into cars, and this is a global situation."

Gupta, however, does see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel with some of the numbers being made up by Q4. In the meantime though, Volkswagen states the emphasis remains on remaining transparent and providing customers with realistic timelines.

First Published Date: 04 Jul 2022, 10:59 AM IST
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