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Old 12th February 2015, 22:59   #181
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

It is a pity that one of the leading global OEMs cannot make a mark in India. At least one of their problems is poor and rude experience of the customer at the dealers location and at least some of it must be a trickle down from the top. In 2009 I went for my first and last visit to a VW showroom. My interest was in testing and buying the Beetle to replace the Corsa as my daily commuter. And the VW dealer, in Gurgaon, refused to permit a test drive saying emphatically that the Beetle is so iconic that VW policy says it cannot be taken for a test drive. These were his exact words. I explained I was willing to buy it the same day (the cost I think was Rs 22 lakhs then) provided I was given an hour's drive...but no sir. The discussion went on for about 20 minutes but he was adamant that orders from the top were very clear. In all fairness the young man wasn't rude just terribly curt. Over the years I have personally bought several cars (and one second hand scooter) and this was without doubt my most unusual experience ever. I wonder if others have had similar experiences. In fact it left me with a bruised ego. A year later when my business needed to buy a three official company cars my Admin manager wanted to go for VW but I insisted she buy Toyota and never regretted it. Maybe the experience of individual customers is not a priority with VW.
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Old 13th February 2015, 11:15   #182
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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
It is a pity that one of the leading global OEMs cannot make a mark in India. At least one of their problems is poor and rude experience of the customer at the dealers location and at least some of it must be a trickle down from the top. In 2009 I went for my first and last visit to a VW showroom. My interest was in testing and buying the Beetle to replace the Corsa as my daily commuter. And the VW dealer, in Gurgaon, refused to permit a test drive saying emphatically that the Beetle is so iconic that VW policy says it cannot be taken for a test drive. These were his exact words. I explained I was willing to buy it the same day (the cost I think was Rs 22 lakhs then) provided I was given an hour's drive...but no sir. The discussion went on for about 20 minutes but he was adamant that orders from the top were very clear. In all fairness the young man wasn't rude just terribly curt. Over the years I have personally bought several cars (and one second hand scooter) and this was without doubt my most unusual experience ever. I wonder if others have had similar experiences. In fact it left me with a bruised ego. A year later when my business needed to buy a three official company cars my Admin manager wanted to go for VW but I insisted she buy Toyota and never regretted it. Maybe the experience of individual customers is not a priority with VW.
This has got nothing to do with company policy. A bad dealer and such organism cannot be controlled by VW nor by Honda. I had a similar experience when i wanted to test a Honda Accord. The salesman asked all sorts of question like if i own a home, salary, company. Before he asked more, I told him to shut up. Also,one should try taking a test drive of a Land Cruiser. VAG problems are less related to service or dealer. Otherwise, the Renault duster wont sell in India. The problem is they don't have products to sell. So its logical. If there are couple of things on the shelf and that too have reached expiry date, the shops shut down. As simple as that.
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Old 13th February 2015, 12:10   #183
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A bad dealer and such organism cannot be controlled by VW nor by Honda.
I agree that they can't be controlled. But they can surely be monitored better through stronger processes. My experience with VW After Sales has not only been quite different between two dealers, it has also varied widely on different occasions from the same dealer.

Although, VW does call you to take feedback on your visits, the action on it has been mixed - once the dealer called and apologised for a less than satisfactory experience while on occasions there was no response at all.

Just like any franchise business, your partners won't behave consistently unless you strongly lay down what is acceptable and what is not. I feel VW is lacking in this area at the moment.

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The problem is they don't have products to sell. So its logical. If there are couple of things on the shelf and that too have reached expiry date, the shops shut down. As simple as that.
Well, yes and no. Yes their products have started to grow old but are not really inferior in their segments.

But at the same time, they are not putting their full efforts into it. For example, I was going through the following video which rates top 10 entry hatches in UK. Polo is rated the best so we cannot say it is beyond expiry date.




Many cars in the list are not available in India, but some are. If you look at Swift and i20, the manufacturers are offering similar features in the cars in India as well. I specifically mean features which excite the market and not safety like ABS, 6 airbags, etc.

But if you look at Polo, the difference between Euro and Indian one is stark, even in external panels, headlights, etc. And this is the segment where VW can expect most volumes.

While I commend them for maintaining the structural rigidity and offering airbags across models, we all know how many people actually know or even care about such things.

What I mean is that if you can offer everything which Polo is offered with in other countries, people may get excited. Same holds for other cars - Jetta for example, no DSG in Comfortline, no upping of power for 1.4. While it is a capable car, are they doing enough to keep consumers excited?

Even with existing levels of after-sales, I have a hunch they are not maximising their potential in marketing and sales.
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Old 13th February 2015, 12:17   #184
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This has got nothing to do with company policy. A bad dealer and such organism cannot be controlled by VW nor by Honda.
The problem is they don't have products to sell.
VW's failure or sort of it is definitely not only because of bad dealerships alone but a combination of different aspects. Having an incomplete portfolio has definitely hurt them a lot. So did their arrogant dealership attitude and their own mismanagement. I still don't understand why they didn't offer the UP! here in India even though India is still a small car dominated market. On the other hand, while Ecosports and duster are storming the market, VW is unable to bring a small soft roader even after 3 years since Duster launch. Yet, there is no denying the fact that poor aftersales and negative reputation spread very quickly and that went against them. VW could have solved these problems if they were a little more eager but they decided to ignore and I think now it's too late. Although they still don't look like they're in a hurry to change the fortune of the company in India.
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Old 13th February 2015, 14:36   #185
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I just came back from Shanghai and its such a stark contrast where you be be hard pressed to see a Suzuki... But a VW is one of the most commonly seen cars... I think alot has to do with the pricing capabilities and the high quality they offer. They offer a far better product than MSIL but in a country which is so price sensitive + high taxes, people opt for a cheaper product. Im not surprised that major global manufacturers suffer in India. I am hoping going forward we dont see global majors finding it difficult to make inroads here.. Even existing manufacturers are not offering their entire line and are very very careful in their selection.
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Old 13th February 2015, 18:37   #186
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It is called "management perception", VAG honchos would feel they are a brand that sells Audis and the likes, have an overall whiff of pride in their walk, and they enter India and see Maruti and Hyundai ruling here and they might have thought ("Seriously?? ok..we anyways offer better cars than the competition here so we are doing Indians a favor by choosing to sell our world class cars here , also our cars are built so solid so they can withstand India , lets even remove a few parts here and there" ) and then what follows (top down to each salesman to every service engineer) is what many of us have experienced.

Any management needs to have the ears ( as well as their legs) to the ground and understand first what the customer is like,how to win their hearts and minds and how the battlefield is like, apart from paying for reports from top consultants and experts.

In a way Volkswagen has still not lost the game completely but seem confused (We refurbished the Polo - yeah good , gave it airbags as standard - really mature, But we are still not selling enough! - well you are getting some points there honey but long way from winning my heart and my mind (read cost of ownership , portfolio, VFM compared to the competition , after sales value etc)

So they will finally decide Indians are weird and give up ?? - well its your decision VAG :-) , take a cue from Hyundai
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Old 13th February 2015, 19:42   #187
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This has got nothing to do with company policy. A bad dealer and such organism cannot be controlled by VW nor by Honda.
Thank you for sharing your experience. Sad to see the same behaviour from Honda of all the companies. While the OEM cannot control every stupid conduct of every dealer they (the OEM) do carry huge influence on the dealer right down to how they will sell. The dealers pick up cues from the OEM - written and the unsaid in the form of training, policy clarifications and what gets rewarded and what gets reprimanded. The attitudes of a dealer start at the top of the OEM house. Anyways it matters little as far as this potential customer is concerned. Since that day in 2009 between my joint family & the business 8 cars got purchased and none were VW. VW don't care and neither do I.
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Old 13th February 2015, 21:08   #188
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The way forward for VW until they get their act together is "the way down". I own an VW and I can say that with experience. Their cars are only good as long as you are fortunate. If luck runs out, then you meet the 'well oiled VW service'. Their parts don't arrive in time, its takes 15 days for a part dispatch and even when they send it they send a wrong part number!! Then they re-send it and it takes another 15 days. God save you if you don't have a second car. Your day to day work life suddenly becomes a challenge. Contrast this to our Maruthi that came in less than a week on a bigger complaint. What good is a brand if only the product is good? All sides of the business need to complement each other. Based on my experience my friends who were awed by the DSG, just decided to look else where. Then you have the thin network of sales and service stations. On a holiday (which is usually when you drive of the crowd and where you need your car to be in shape) if you need help, you are just stranded. Until they fix these very crucial parts of their business even the 4000 odd units they sell will be hard to hold on to. Even if you don't compare it to Maruthi but to a Honda, say, they are far better. Our Honda came back from the body shop in 10 days. I might not buy a VW, not even upgrade, even it means to buy the next best to a VW.

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Old 13th February 2015, 21:18   #189
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Then you have the thin network of sales and service stations. On a holiday (which is usually when you drive of the crowd and where you need your car to be in shape) if you need help, you are just stranded. Until they fix these very crucial parts of their business even the 4000 odd, units they sell will be hard to hold on to. Even if you don't compare it to Maruthi but a Honda say, they are far better. Our Honda came back from the body shop in 10 days. I will might not buy a VW, not even upgrade, even it means to buy the next best to a VW.
I experienced this disadvantage first hand. My Polo broke down near Gubbi when driving from Bangalore and I had to wait for a good 4 hours or so before VW sent a flat-bed. Though the guys did a good job overall,I was left stranded with family as the flat bed was dispatched from Bangalore and towed to the city since there was no dealer in Tumkur. Had it been Maruti/Hyundai or Ford I would have had to wait a max of 1 hour may be till a flat bed got the car to the nearest dealer.
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Old 13th February 2015, 23:26   #190
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Thank you for sharing your experience. Sad to see the same behaviour from Honda of all the companies. While the OEM cannot control every stupid conduct of every dealer they (the OEM) do carry huge influence on the dealer right down to how they will sell. The dealers pick up cues from the OEM - written and the unsaid in the form of training, policy clarifications and what gets rewarded and what gets reprimanded. The attitudes of a dealer start at the top of the OEM house. Anyways it matters little as far as this potential customer is concerned. Since that day in 2009 between my joint family & the business 8 cars got purchased and none were VW. VW don't care and neither do I.
Though i have been critical of them in this post, but i use one of their products. In Pune, they have 2 dealers and the one that i rely on has impeccable service. The other is not so good. As far as the car is concerned, no one can hold a candle to the performance of Vento TDI in that segment.It has been extremely reliable so far without a squeak. But does that mean VW doesn't have any faults. They have many.


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I experienced this disadvantage first hand. My Polo broke down near Gubbi when driving from Bangalore and I had to wait for a good 4 hours or so before VW sent a flat-bed. Though the guys did a good job overall,I was left stranded with family as the flat bed was dispatched from Bangalore and towed to the city since there was no dealer in Tumkur. Had it been Maruti/Hyundai or Ford I would have had to wait a max of 1 hour may be till a flat bed got the car to the nearest dealer.
Saying Ford would have done better is like saying a pariah dog is more beautiful then a hyena. though VW RSA is good and we have heard a awesome story about them

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...w-service.html (Jetta Breakdown: Exceptional experience with VW Service)

The time you are stranded on the road will always depend on the reach of the nearest ASS. I was unlucky once with my Alto that too in the middle of the city. Thats not a real parameter to judge.
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Old 13th February 2015, 23:28   #191
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It is a pity VW is still not anywhere in the top half of sales in India. I am a satisfied owner of VW Vento TDi since 2010. The car is solid and good; basically the engine is good and no serious complaints on the servicing. But in India customers who are looking for such cars are few. VW despite their late entry has not got the Indian customer assessment right. Here people look for feature rich value for money cars and that's why Hyundai has been doing well. A long lasting solid car and good engine ranks low in the value perception. VW assumes the European attitude in choosing cars will be there in India when we already have seen the Japanese and Korean cars that offer much more in the desired value lines. The management style was indifferent if not arrogant in brushing aside customer feedback and complaints. VW should have taken note that Indians are used to quality conscious companies like Toyoto and Honda and given due consideration and seriousness to the mature Indian buyers.
With their global presence VW can move up with introduction of more models with features at the same ensuring improved service to the cars on the road.
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Old 13th February 2015, 23:51   #192
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Saying Ford would have done better is like saying a pariah dog is more beautiful then a hyena. though VW RSA is good and we have heard a awesome story about them
I quoted Ford because they have a wider network when compared to VW!
I agree VW did very well in handling that case.But how many such experiences do we read about ? Hardly any.More often than not,they've disappointed. I can search and post 10's of threads where VW RSA took their own sweet time in getting to them.

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The time you are stranded on the road will always depend on the reach of the nearest ASS.
Which is why wider the dealer network, the lesser time spent stranded in the middle of nowhere.

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Thats not a real parameter to judge.
I disagree. My Polo broke down 3 times during the 1 odd year I had it, and EACH time it took more than a couple of hours for them to get to where I was. 2 out of those 3 times I needed assistance when my car broke down well within the city.

The point is,their sparse dealer network is a disadvantage compared to say a Maruti or Hyundai,if not Ford.

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Old 14th February 2015, 05:06   #193
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This has got nothing to do with company policy. A bad dealer and such organism cannot be controlled by VW nor by Honda.
I disagree with you Sir.

The manufacturer is the one who wants to sell cars, generate a business in turn generate revenue to flourish and gain market share. The manufacturer can't do wholly so they appoint "Dealers" who will do this job of selling and servicing to keep the customers happy and flowing-in.

Better the satisfaction, more the sales along with brand promotion + brand loyalty by word-of-mouth.

If a said dealer is not behaving well or not offering the right service to a customer, the complaint must reach the heads so as to react on it to prevent recurrence. VW or Honda or any other manufacturer not taking an action against the dealer is a negative point to them. They have to put their foot down to tighten these guys. Conduct surveys, Conduct a surprise audit at the dealer unit and at the ASC to know the 'Real & Honest' feedback from the customers. Any manufacturer that is really interested will not allow any leniency whatsoever.

If a child is misbehaving or loosing track, it is job of the parents to get the child back in track. If parents ignore the child then things will go out of hand. The child here is dealer and parent is manufacturer.

Customer complaints are the only way a manufacturer will know what is going and the facts happening. If manufacturers ignore these complaints then God save them.

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VW don't care.
This particular attitude is the last nail in the coffin for any manufacturer.

The policy for any business:

"Customer is God!"

Why does VAG group forget this?! They are into the business to sell cars and gain a market share. With a such a vast population + easily available manpower such MNC's should rule the market setting an example for the Indian companies. But here I see is the opposite happening in all possible ways.

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The point is,their sparse dealer network is a disadvantage compared to say a Maruti or Hyundai, if not Ford.
You have communicated what I wanted to.

VW may be having great cars in its line-up with good engine, build quality etc but "After Sales" is a very important factor that does predict a manufacturers shelf life in a country/region.

Hyderabad being a decently sized city has around 3-4 dealers covering the population but I would say it is manageable because Toyota has 2 or 3 in Hyderabad. Never have I heard any complaints like the VAG group generate. Toyota has a better staff who know how to deal with customers and also keep the above mentioned policy in mind, which goes a long way. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have many of them.

M-o-M if anyone noticed the sales for VAG in comparison to Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki?! If VW is not able to satisfy such a small population of owners then I can't imagine what will happen if VW sells 1 lakh cars a month.

VAG as a group if continues with such attitude in India then I don't see any sustainance in the country leave alone growth in their market share.

Last edited by a4anurag : 14th February 2015 at 05:20.
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Old 14th February 2015, 10:38   #194
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My friend was looking to buy a hatch in bangalore and he checked out the Polo, the salesman told him to buy the one they have in stock, otherwise it would take four months. He told me this and I said they'd have a year's inventory and in the current situation, nobody would come around for the car in the next four months. The showroom had been calling him forcing him to buy the car. I've asked him to go for the grand i10, everyone has been telling him horror stories about VW service costs, it may be an incorrect perception but the Polo is out of contention.
I guess VW staff started out with a market eager for their products, but after the initial excitement fizzled out, they have not been able to come to terms with a buyers' market. Their cars don't awe potential customers who are undecided and can't understand what the hype and hoopla around the brand was all about.
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Old 16th February 2015, 12:18   #195
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I can recall a funny experience with a VW dealership--

It was first week of November 2014, I was in the market in search of a new car to replace my Polo. My first preference was GT TDI. So one fine morning I went to one of their dealerships in Kolkata only to find that they had no GT TDI car available with them, let alone a test drive car. The salesman stupidly said that GT cars are associated to sports cars and that it doesn't require a test drive. Although later he honestly confessed that they were not provided with a GT car for test drive at all, be it TDI or TSI. They had a TSI in stock and it was not for test drive and rightly so he didn't want to give it for a test drive. But he was ready to give a test drive in a 1.5L Polo comfortline model and from the looks of it, I can confirm that it was a customer's car. The PDI was not done. So he asked me if I wanted to have it for a test drive around their compound. I wonder if you would call it a test drive at all.

Then I had a look at Vento which was standing next to the TSI. It was my second choice as Vento would offer more space and a sedan advantage. When I asked for a test drive, he said he could only provide me a 1.6 diesel for test drive which was the older one. I refused to take that for a drive. Enquired if and when the 1.5 would be available for test drive but he could not confirm a date. Interesting thing is, when I asked him about the expected delivery date for a 2015 model, he said he will only be able to give me a car earliest by April'15 which in mathematical terms means 6 months of waiting period.

The fun part comes next. On the next day a lady from that dealership called me to say that I would receive an enquiry call from their head office and she requested me to give them five star in every aspect including test drive to which I disagreed. Although that enquiry call is yet to come. VW lost a loyal customer in me.

The thing is that the company should take more direct approach and try to reach their customers without depending on their dealers. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had this type of experience.

Last edited by Carpainter : 16th February 2015 at 12:21.
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