The Volkswagen Polo hatchback and Vento sedans are overstaying their visas in India. Fading away instead of burning out is how these cars are very likely to go out of production in India. Volkswagen (VW) India knows this. So, the German automaker is readying up five new cars and SUVs that will let the brand go beyond the Polo and the Vento. Today, we take a look at each one of these cars and analyze the impact they will each have on the fortunes of the Volkswagen brand in India. All these cars will be in India within the next 24 months/2 years.
The new Beetle is yet another attempt by Volkswagen to introduce a halo car in India. Previous attempts such as the Phaeton and the old Beetle didn’t really give the brand the traction it was expecting from these cars. However, the new Beetle with a turbo diesel engine could prove to be a good foil to the likes of the Fiat 500 Abarth and the new Mini Cooper range is what Volkswagen India feels.
The new Beetle, which features a refreshed exterior design, uses a 2 liter TDI turbo diesel engine (140 Bhp-320 Nm) for propulsion. A six speed twin clutch DSG automatic gearbox handles torque transmission. If Volkswagen can price the new Beetle competitively despite the car being a CBU import, the car could give the German brand good visibility, although the need for this at this point in time remains lost on us.
The B8 (8th generation) Volkswagen Passat is coming to India early next year. The car is based on the MQB platform and is more spacious than its outgoing version despite having smaller dimensions. Globally, the B8 Passat is sold with an all-turbo petrol and diesel engine line up. In India though, expect only the 2 liter TDI turbo diesel engine mated to a 6 speed twin clutch DSG automatic gearbox to be offered.
The B8 Passat will be pricier than the discontinued version on account to the slew of features added. On whether the Indian market bites at a premium saloon that is likely to be priced at par or higher than many German entry level luxury sedans such the Audi A3 and Mercedes Benz CLA remains to be seen. Volkswagen will assemble the new Passat through the CKD kit route.
Polo based compact sedan
The German brand wants to take the fight to one of India’s fastest growing car segments, the compact sedan class. The PQ24 platform of the current Polo will be used for a compact sedan. Dubbed the sub-4 meter Vento, the new car from Volkswagen is likely to use a completely new top hat. This move comes at a time when many buyers are shying away from the Vento and the Polo due to both cars looking very similar.
A new design for the compact sedan will allow Volkswagen to differentiate the car from the likes of the Polo and the Vento, two cars that are ageing rapidly. The new compact sedan from VW will dig into the parts bin of the Polo and the Vento to keep costs low. In terms of engines, the 1.2 liter TSI turbo petrol and 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel motors could be offered on the new car. A launch in the middle of 2016 is likely, preceded by an Auto Expo concept debut.
All-New 7 Seat Tiguan
The all-new Tiguan will make its debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The big deal about the Tiguan is that the SUV will get longer than before and also bring 7 seats, in a 5+2 seating layout into the equation. With the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Chevrolet Trialblazer and the all-new Mitsubishi Sport arriving soon into India, a second half of 2016 India launch for the Tiguan seems likely.
If Volkswagen could price the Tiguan at par or slightly below the likes of the new Fortuner and Endeavour, the luxury SUV will open up a new segment for the German automaker, and one that could bring in good numbers. For this though, a strong turbo diesel engine is an absolute essential. The 2 liter TDI turbo diesel engine flexibility on this front could come to the fore. CKD assembly in India is highly likely for the new Tiguan.
Sub-4 Meter Compact SUV
Another fast growing segment where Volkswagen wants to have a presence in is the compact SUV space, currently dominated by the likes of the Ford Ecosport and the Renault Duster. By the middle of next year, this space will have at least three more new offerings from automakers such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Volkswagen does have its task cut out.
The sub-4 meter SUV from the German brand will arrive before the middle of 2017. However, clarity on the platform that the new SUV will take is poor at this moment. For one, Volkswagen has the option of extending the wheelbase of the Taigun to form the new vehicle. The other option is to use the next-generation Polo’s MQB platform to fashion something aspirational yet compact in the SUV space.