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In Conversation: Steffen Knapp, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars

April 02, 2018, 01:26 PM IST by Abhishek Nigam
In Conversation: Steffen Knapp, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars

The story so far…

Volkwagen has been in India for almost ten years now and it has always tried to stand out. Especially, when it comes to the amount of quality and technology put into the cars. But that does tend to increase costs which in turn appeals to specific customers only. But then VW wants to target the middle class consumers too who are getting more affluent and are prepared to shell out more money for safety, quality and driving experience. Moreover, this market is growing and there is going to be more potential in the future. 

VW never expected to get 15-20% market share immediately. In fact the reason behind starting off in India was that the company saw a huge potential thanks to the number of people driving cars. The company’s aim was to have a targeted approach, work on the brand, establish it and think about the next step.

Going forward…

VW is an established brand now with a brand awareness of about 30-35% and it will be strengthening its fundamentals to get to the next stage. The aim is to increase the market share to 3% from the current 1.5% within the next 5 years which should be a pretty impressive feat, considering the number of players present in the market. There are almost 3,00,000 VW cars on Indian roads which means the dealers are a happy lot and they are investing in workshops. This is because there are a good number of cars that need to be serviced. In a bid to make the cars more affordable to run, VW is also aiming to increase localization which you can read about here.

VW now will also be focusing on the corporate end of things, particularly the small-medium businesses where you have architects and doctors who prefer a more subtle approach towards cars. Digitalization is another thing that the company is working on where the objective is to fully digitalize the customer’s service journey through a new web-page which is completely mobile capable. You can read about it in detail here.

The products…

Volkswagen, apart from refreshing its current line-up, is now also working on the succession models. Availability of kits was another problem which has now been resolved with additional cars being available with steady supply especially of the Passat and the Tiguan. Talking about SUVs, it’s a very attractive segment with more customers going for bigger SUVs. So there is a huge opportunity for the Tiguan not just in terms of volume but also the brand.  VW is also looking at an SUV in the more affordable class which is good for volumes and profitability and also forms a part of the company’s target customer base. 

For the future products, VW will be betting on the new MQB A0 IN platform which is being specifically developed for the Indian subcontinent. Steffen Knapp also mentioned that the company is aiming to adopt a sportier image to differentiate its cars from its sibling and rival companies. How do they plan to do it? Here are the details.  









Tags:Volkswagen,Tiguan,passat,Steffen Knapp
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