As a matter of fact, German automaker Volkswagen is working on a compact SUV for emerging car markets of the world including India. However, the platform on which this SUV will be underpinned has been a mystery all along, with some reports pointing towards a MQB future for the vehicle while others have been betting upon the PQ25 platform to be accommodating enough. The German automaker has now confirmed that a Polo-based compact SUV is in the works, but this is where the twist in the tale becomes apparent.
Dr Heinz-Jakob Neuser’, a board member for technical development at Volkswagen, has asserted that this SUV will be aimed at markets in China, South America and Europe. Now, the current version of the Polo is based on the PQ25 platform, while the successor of this hatchback will adopt the MQB platform. As the Polo based compact SUV is scheduled to debut in 2o16, the same year as the MQB platform underpinned new hatchback, both cars are expected to share parts, a feature that is the mainstay of the new platform.
In India, the PQ25 platform will soldier on for a few more years, what with a compact sedan being planned on this platform. Having received facelifts recently, the PQ25 platform based Polo hatchback and the Vento sedan are also expected to continue catering to the Indian buyers for the next couple of years. In light of these developments, where does the MQB platform based compact SUV stand as far as India is concerned? The answer to this question lies in how large and important India is, as a market for the Volkswagen group.
In India, Volkswagen’s market share, along with that of Skoda, currently stands at under 3 % (under 80,000 cars in outright sales), much at odds with the firm’s market share in countries such as China (20.8 % and sales of 3.27 million cars in 2013) and Brazil (22 % and sales of 0.66 million cars). This begs the question whether the Indian car market is large enough for Volkswagen to bring in a compact SUV developed specifically for the country, based on the PQ25 platform.
Such an approach is highly unlikely as the Volkswagen group core philosophy now lies in the MQB platform and the synergies this approach brings to the table in terms of parts and production facility sharing. The 2016 Polo based hatchback and compact SUV are the two new cars that India could eventually get. Now, the PQ25 based Polo and Vento are good for a couple of more years in terms of freshness. Therefore, don’t be surprised if the MQB based compact SUV actually arrives before its hatchback and sedan platform mates, with an end 2016 launch timeframe likely.