This, the Volkswagen Taigun - along with the Skoda Vision IN based SUV - will be among the first products to roll out as part of the Volkswagen group's India 2.0 strategy. This strategy centers around accessibility and lower cost of ownership. And this approach, the company believes, will help the VW group finally realise its dream of being more than just a big player in the Indian market. And, of course, utilise its massive plant capacity.
Easier Said Than Done
But, it’s easier said than done. The sales for both VW and Skoda cars are pretty low for the respective segments they operate in. And yes, many believe that build quality, safety and driving dynamics are aspects these cars excel at.
But, when it comes to efficiency, and ease of repair, availability of spare parts, and of course the overall after sales experience, these brands don’t rate very highly. Not surprisingly then, the risk-averse, value-conscious, and shrewd Indian car buyer chooses not to buy these cars.
Skoda and VW are already working towards changing this impression. And with the high local content for both the Taigun and the Vision IN-based SUV, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India (yes, that’s the name of the company now!) believes not only will the spare parts availability improve dramatically, the cost of repair and replacement will come down significantly as well.
The Value Card
Furthermore, Volkswagen says the Taigun will offer better value than its competition. Read: the Hyundai Creta.
The senior ranking official refused to say if the SUV will be cheaper than the Creta, but he insisted that the VW SUV will deliver more on the value proposition including better build quality, higher safety, and more space.
However, he was probably referring to the existing Creta which sits on wheelbase that’s shorter than even the Renault Triber! But, the new Creta, based on the Kia Seltos, will be larger, and roomier than the current car. And it will be better equipped than the current car as well.
Plus, we sat inside the Taigun. And though it has very good knee and legroom, it’s not exactly very wide on the inside. And the boot space again, isnt anything to write home about. Plus, the Seltos is no slouch when it comes to build quality or safety, and that will reflect on the new Creta as well.
And therefore, the Volkswagen Taigun needs strong USPs. It needs to match the competition when it comes to the feel-good tech. It should sport things like big screen, touch-sensitive multimedia systems; a voice command system with various connectivity and smart app options; tons of smart and practical storage options; maybe some amount of bling; a panoramic sunroof even; and possibly electrically powered front seats.
But, most of all, Volkswagen will have to shed its ‘We are Volkswagen’ approach. What I mean by that is that even now when you speak with VW or Skoda officials they seem to believe they build properly premium cars. And are therefore justified in demanding a premium for their products over the competition.
However, that’s not true. If it were justified, they’d be selling by the truck loads instead of being a car maker of significance in a market like India. To call build quality and safety as USPs for a VW or a Skoda product in today’s day and age is pointless. Majority of the buyers don’t see it that way. They will not be willing to pay extra for it even if they recognise it.
However, if the new Volkswagen Taigun was offered with all the bells and whistles, and of course the mandated VW build quality and safety. But, at a price that’s lower than the competition, then yes, most buyers would see it as a strong USP; strong enough really to appeal to their risk-averse, value-conscious, and shrewd side.