Targeting new segments and niches is part of Volkswagen’s expansion plans for the Indian market and according to it, we see the automaker showing interest in the sub-four metre compact sedan segment here. News is that Volkswagen is planning a sub-four metre compact sedan for India and it could be based on the Up!Platform.
The Up! is what Volkswagen is truly excited about globally but expecting the hatchback in India would mean extra expenses for the automaker and that’s not what they have in mind. However, if the platform of the Up! were used here to spawn off other styles, then it could be a viable situation for them. This is where the new compact sedan can come in and if it does it will have to take on Maruti Suzuki’s Dzire, the Honda Amaze and the Indigo eCs who are some of the major players of this segment.
Mahesh Kodumudi, the new MD of Volkswagen India, told Economic Times in an interview previously in September that despite the company facing a tough time in India, they are looking to create a new portfolio strategy for the country. Among the segments they were keen on, apart from the SUV, he mentioned that the sub-four metre was also on their target list as it was a growing one.
On the future of the Up! Platform in India, Kodumudi was hesitant and said it was not part of the short-term strategy but it has not been ruled out either. Going by his statements we could assume that this car is based on the Up! platform.
Cars in India that come above the sub-four metre segment or with an engine capacity of more than 1,500 cc have to pay 24 percent excise. What automakers do to get around this rule is trimming it to size to stay in the highly price competitive market here. Now, when it comes to the Indian market, apart from price there are few other factors also which decide the fate of a car such legroom, boot space, the powertrain and even the engines.
In order to tackle this situation head on, Volkswagen, it seems, has given it some thought. Sources from the company say that they could be working not on one car, but two! However, only one car will be chosen for production. One of these models being experimented on could be a truncated version of the Vento, Built on the same 2,552mm wheelbase as the Vento, this car will be spacious and since it is a sub-four metre, it will escape some of the taxes, making it cheaper to build and that means the company will be able to equip the car with decent feature. This is easier said than done, as the change in shape is bound to be difficult to execute and it could also mean losing out on markets elsewhere.
The other option being looked at is that the car be based on the Up!’s platform (PQ12). It is front-engined and has a short wheelbase so it could suit Volkswagen’s requirements.
The end result is sure to be one to watch out for as the company, with names like the Polo and Vento to their credit, has already proved how high its standards are.