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Volkswagen Starts SUV Tiguan Production In India

German auto major Volkswagen on Wednesday said it has started production of its upcoming premium SUV Tiguan at the Aurangabad plant in Maharashtra

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Volkswagen, the German auto giant will soon complete 10 years of Indian operations. The company has seen quite a few ups and downs in the domestic market with its Polo and Vento becoming quite popular while other cars losing momentum amidst heavy competition.

The auto major is now gearing up its Indian operation with a slew of new launches. The company will soon launch SUV Tiguan whose production has already started at the company’s Aurangabad facility.

Michael Mayer, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India said, “The Tiguan will be our premium SUV offering for India and will cater to the unceasing demand in the segment. Our customers will now have an extended portfolio, ranging from hatchback to executive sedan, to meet their requirements at our showrooms.”

The Tiguan was first showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2016 and its introduction this year, will mark the brand's presence in the growing SUV segment. The SUV will be available with a 2.0L TDI engine mated to a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

The SUV will compete with the likes of established players Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour which are priced in the range of Rs 26 lakh to up to Rs 31 lakh.

Apart from Tiguan, the company has announced that it will launch executive sedan-the new Passat in the coming months. There is a strong buzz that it will launch facelift of hatchback Polo in 2018. At present, compact sedan Ameo generates maximum volume for VW.

"…With the successful launch of the Ameo and introduction of GTI recently, Volkswagen marked its presence in the Compact Sedan and Performance car segment. With exciting new products across the segments, we are now ready to enter the SUV segment with Tiguan and luxury segment with the all-new Passat. The slew of launches will ensure every car buyer finds a car to meet their requirements at our showrooms," said Mayor, who will take up the role of the head - sales and marketing at Volkswagen Passenger Cars in China, the largest market for VW globally. Thierry Lespiaucq, the MD of Volkswagen Group Sales India Private Limited will take charge of Volkswagen Cars India in India, said the statement from the company.

On its journey in the Indian market, the company thinks that some of the assumptions they made were not fully correct and going forward it should concentrate on localisation.

“We have been here (in India) for ten years now as a brand but we are still in the learning phase. Some of the assumptions that we took in the early days when we came then with Vento and Polo, they have proved to be not 100 per cent right," Mayer said in a recent interview.

He said the company had much higher expectations of growth of the market but that did not happen in 2011-13 and that "fairly dampened" the plans.

On bringing more localisation in its product portfolio, he added, “We are doing a lot behind the scenes with our factory and our local engineering. So, that will drive a lot of our future products decisions. We have to be very much Indianised in order to be competitive."

Another area where VW wants to focus more on the Indian market is the development of electric cars. The company has signed an agreement with Tata Motors to explore cooperation in India in the recently concluded Geneva Auto Show.

At present, Volkswagen has a market share of around 1.6 per cent in the Indian market. It reported 58 per cent increase in sales in India at 3,965 units in February 2017 on the back of its compact sedan Ameo.

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