At a recent press conference held by Volkswagen India, their brand head, Michael Mayer, spoke to the media about the future plans that the carmaker wants to put in place. These plans include the launch of four new models – the Passat B8, the new Beetle, the Tiguan and a compact sedan that is yet to be christened.
The Passat B8, which we reviewed a few months back, is the highly capable successor to the B7 model that was sold in India. Based on the VW group’s versatile MQB platform, the new Passat is lighter, roomier and visually larger than its outgoing counterpart. It also employs a new design philosophy that retains all the characteristics of the older Passat, but refines it further to make for an aggressive stance. Under hood will be the potent 2.0-litre diesel engine in the tune of 180-190PS with about 400Nm of torque. The engine will come with a 7-speed DSG transmission. The large luxury saloon will take on the likes of the recently updated Toyota Camry and the new Skoda Superb that is expected in Q3 2015. Expected to sit at a higher price point than the outgoing Passat, the B8 will also tread into the territory of the entry-level compact luxury cars like the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz CLA.
At the other end of the sedan segment though, Volkswagen India plans to introduce its first compact sedan offering to rival cars like the Swift Dzire, Amaze, Xcent, Zest and the upcoming Figo Aspire. Like the latter, this one too is late to the party, but Volkswagen believe that their car will be able to offer better quality and features than the rest. The compact sedan is based on the same platform that underpins the Vento and the Polo and will use similar engines too – a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel. We won’t be surprised if the compact sedan also gets the option of a DSG automatic gearbox something which even the Ford Figo Aspire will also have.
Alongside these sedans, Volkswagen also intend to bring back their poster child – the Beetle. The Beetle now wears a more metrosexual design and is based on the PQ35 platform that is also used for the Jetta. The cult classic was presented in its current avatar in 2011 and was also displayed in India at the 2012 Auto Expo. Volkswagen don’t expect big numbers from the Beetle, but believe that their Indian showrooms deserve to have the halo car.
The fourth model slated for launch by Volkswagen India is the all-new Tiguan. The Tiguan is a mid-size five-seater SUV that slots below the Touareg. Yet to be unveiled globally, the all-new Tiguan is expected to wear the new design language seen on the Passat B8. Very little is known about the oily bits, but expect the trusty 2.0-litre TDI diesel to find home in this SUV as well, with an output in the range of 150PS and 350Nm. Expect pricing to be in the range of Rs 25-40 lakh, which means it will rival cars like the Toyota Fortuner, the upcoming 2016 Ford Endeavour and compact luxury crossovers like the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Along with the four new models, Volkswagen India are also putting new strategies in place to improve their after sales service. Volkswagen believe that the process of quickly ramping up their dealership network has worked well, but now the company will employ an array of programmes to improve dealership experience and quality of service. It won’t be an overnight process though.