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Old 13th December 2013, 20:35   #46
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

A small incident that happened with me when I visited a dealer in Hyderabad for a TD of the Polo GT TDI.

Entered the dealer and found a few customers surrounding the Vento TDI and some children jumping on the rear seat of that car. After a wait of 20 minutes a sales guy came to me and asked:

SA:"How may I help you Sir?!".
Me: I want to do the TD of the Polo GT TDI.
SA: He says 1 minute and goes to his managers room.
... 15 minutes later he surfaces again,
SA: Sir, I want to give you a suggestion!
Me: What is that, Sir?!
SA: Instead of TD of the Polo please look at the Vento TDI, both are the same. Only difference is a boot and nothing else.
Me: I was
SA: Polo not moving Sir, Vento full sales Sir.
Me: I asked him whether they have a TD vehicle for the GT TDI
SA: No Sir, We don't have but there is a customers car that has come for service and I can do TD on that car.
Me: I was frustrated but silent.

Wished the SA, A Thank you and walked out of the showroom.

I just do't understand this behaviour of the SA and the way of giving a customers car for TD purpose. How ridiculous! I don't know how many cars like this are given for TD to new customers.

Note: To all VW owners, please note down the odometer reading when giving the car for service as this will ive an idea of what was done with the car in your absence.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frustrated me went to Maruti showroom to TD the Ritz ZDi and Swift ZDi for time pass sake!

Me: I want to TD the Ritz ZDi and Swift ZDi models now. Can I have a car?
SA: Sure Sir. Please follow me to the parking lot where the TD cars are kept.
Me: Thank you. Once we reached the parking lot, there were cars from their whole portfolio except Zen Estilo, A-Star, Kizashi.
SA: Here are the keys of the Ritz sir.
Me: I drove it for a 1 km and returned (been driving it from 3 years).
SA: So quick sir? Why? Didn't like the car sir?
Me: I explained him that I am driving the Ritz VDi from 3 years (1 Lakh kms) so I know how it feels.
SA: Ok Sir. No Problem. Here are the keys for the Swift ZDi.
Me: Thank you. Here I asked him to accompany me and took the car for a good 6 kms drive. I started bombarding him with questions on the car and features on it. Mind you he answered each one with pin-point answer. I was WOW, one informed sales guy who talks sense!
Me: After reaching the showroom I parked the car and handed the keys to the SA.
SA: Sir, Can I have your mobile number and email for further communication.
Me: I gave both and asked him time to think and will contact on fixing my mind on which car I wanted.
SA: Which colour do you want sir for the Swift?
Me: Can I know what all are available?
SA: Please come sir (To the yard), will show all colour in real life so that you can decide better.
Me: I narrowed down between Blue and Red.
SA: Very good choices sir.
Me: Are there any waiting periods for the ZDi variant and these two colours?
SA: No sir, If you book the car tomorrow we will give the delivery within 2-3 days.
Me: Thank you for the information. And bid a bye with a smile and satisfaction.

Now this is customer satisfaction! The showroom had around 13-15 customers already and the SA's there were busy but no customer was idle.

Hats off to Maruti. VW must learn from these guys as to how to treat customers and offer a TD of the requested vehicle.

Cheers,
Anurag.
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Old 14th December 2013, 00:24   #47
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Now this is customer satisfaction! The showroom had around 13-15 customers already and the SA's there were busy but no customer was idle.

Hats off to Maruti. VW must learn from these guys as to how to treat customers and offer a TD of the requested vehicle.

Cheers,
Anurag.
I would like to highlight that this experience varies from dealer to dealer. There were days, when maruti dealers flatly refused test drive for swift saying it has 6 months waiting,so there is no need to test drive it.

That said, Indians love to be pampered and feel good factor makes a lot of impact on the purchase decision. The customer should feel welcome.

Eagerness to sell and service, that is all that is needed from VW. They have pretty competent products.

A SUV in the price range of XUV will do wonders for the company.
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Old 14th December 2013, 00:29   #48
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

Dear Team,

Though I do not think I can add any more data here in this wonderfully objective and empathetic thread meant for VW India, here are my two cents:
I had made a decision little over a year back, to go for a Vento TDI Highline, and I have enjoyed it to the fullest so far. Indeed, the decision was heavily influenced by the review of Vento here at TBHP, from GTO.

Coming to this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by el lobo 6061 View Post
My view points as a owner of VW Vento TDi HL purchased during Dec'10

... Have a go through the below post .... Safety is paramount with VAG Group, Ford and Fiat. ...

Lastly I would conclude by saying, after owning a Fiat Padmini, Tata Indica DLS and now VW Vento TDi and Ford Fiesta TDCi, I have understood what a true drivers car is like. That fun while cornering hard around a corner and going flat out. ...

Link: (Why have a transmission tunnel in FWD cars vs a flat floor at the rear?)
Could not agree more! In fact, this highway handling and safe-by-design aspects (as safe as you can expect in this segment) had swayed my mind away from Hyundai Verna, which I struggled hard to ignore, being a long time Hyundai loyal (Drove Santro earlier, that first baby is still there with me).

The fact that I read all 350 pages of that Vento 2010 review and comments (now it runs above 450 pages!) also meant, however, that I was ‘looking for a VW’ anyway, and was probably just gathering enough reasons to satisfy my conscience. We do this in some cases, don't we?

Why? Because I fell in love with VW long back, albeit on German Autobahns, where any car may feel heavenly for an ordinary Indian driver as I am.

Dealer and service experience here in Bangalore.

I must upfront admit that I could afford to ignore this side of VW India thing totally as I was purchasing the car via company lease, i.e. the LeasePlan folks would take care of running around, if required, for servicing etc., at least until the lease tenure! Still read on, you may find a point or two.

I went to one dealer that was closer from my place, compared to another. This dealer did not come across as arrogant or snob, but was bit cold indeed, as if he did not believe he could sell a car to me, even though I looked all-interested, my family too being there with me on a Saturday afternoon!

I did tell them that I would buy it via LeasePlan, upfront.

They quoted some on-road price, and I came off for that day.

As most Indian buyers would do, I went to the other dealer the next weekend and told them exactly same things. These guys were slightly better. They quoted marginally lesser on-road price, not a deal-changer though.

I had a last query on the color (usually the least important thing for me for cars, but matters to many). At that point in time the ‘Black headlamp’ was just in, and I was thinking if I should go for Black Car (on which the headlamp may not come out very good, I just thought), or the Candy white.

They did not have a Black car on display, so I requested at least a couple of photos as the brochure or even any marketing posters did not sport the combination. They promised they would send me the photographs over mail. To be fair, they actually did send, albeit needed a couple of reminders.

Overall, let me state that the buying experience was smooth.

Then, during first service, it was even smoother. Indeed, via LeasePlan.

The plan covers pick and drop. The impeccably punctual drivers, both of he who picked and he who returned, surprised me as I know what traffic is there between my office and the service center!
And all throughout the day, 3 or 4 hourly update in the LeasePlan website on the progress (bit of eyewash, probably the LeasePlan BPO folks simply call the service center at Bangalore from Gurgaon, and type in very high level updates, such as “Wipers replaced, Air filter replacement in progress” etc. Then bit of ‘expectation control’ too, such as deliberately a very late delivery time promised while I knew it cannot take that long in the first service, with zero complaints. They followed it up with ‘before time delivery’. But okay, you’d take it, at least better than no transparency at all, and they were not being dishonest, just being on the safer side).

To summarize, I have probably stated 50% of things completely in agreement to this thread, where none of us doubt the quality of VW cars, admire the brand etc.

For the rest 50%, on buying experience and service etc. I have had to share my positive experience, against the prevalent mood of this thread on this aspect, knowing too well that it has been just a year and my odometer is at just around 12700 KM.

Now, back to the caveat:
  • Was all this simply because of LeasePlan being in-between?
  • And also that there is a good size of market they captured in my organization and likes, and they cater better only to this ‘bulk / assured’ bunch of customers only, and continue to ignore hundreds and thousands of so-called individual buyers?

  • Or has VW service been actually improving?

  • Or, I dare suggest this, should VW try outsourcing the service completely, like in my case LeasePlan changed the experience totally?
  • I am not sure how much did the Concorde-Tata tie up work, on the other hand.

Dealership, Service etc. are kind of “outsourcing” by definition already, true, but I am suggesting a major makeover of their “below-par service” image, which they can do in short time only via trained, dedicated and professionally managed teams, not by changing one or two salesperson every month!

I completely echo what a4anurag depicted. I just attempted to buy a hatch while selling my Santro at the same time (decision deferred at the moment, Santro Xing XO proved too good to let go), and the Hyundai and Maruti folks are politely still calling me, even two weeks after I told them "not now". I am not sure if building such a team and attitude would happen at the short time for VW India.


I am not sure if working on "filling the gaps in portfolio" would work for VW India at the moment. If it did, we may assume VW AG has enough knowledgeable person to make a move in that direction, they are not a new manufacturer after all, doing business over the globe for many years, the inventory of design ideas are more than enough for India for next 20 years!

The strategy a Maruti or a Hyundai could take now, something almost like FMCG folks (pardon the exaggeration) -- that of "fill the shelf of retailer with many packs all from my company, so that customers feel they have plenty of choices and actually end up buying my product only" -- could work only after establishing the basic credibility -- that they are here to stay.
Many are little unsure now if VW has a long term vision for India or just making up some numbers during global economic gloom. In this situation, too many models to extend portfolio may not work out, economically.

Also, if we look at even Maruti or Hyundai, only very recently they have taken this route of "many models at one point in time". VW India is still not there, and I feel it would be jumping few steps, should they try too many models very soon.

This still means the variations they are trying to bring to Polo and Vento are just fine, and I also agree that few more options Polo engine should have been offered from beginning. The UP! would be welcome, indeed. But I do not see a couple more hatches, or a MUV or SUV soon working for VW, nope!


Whatever they decide to do, for their good and / or ours, it would be a pity if VW chooses to lower India in their priority list. After many years, we thought we got some folks who has all the potential, proven over many years around the world, to give some genuine competition to the Suzukis and Hyundais. I love those as well (my father with his third consecutive Maruti, I still have Santro). But a healthy competition is necessary for greater maturity of the market. For ensuring buyers' market, which still respects 'good sellers'. Change of attitude of Indian drivers, to care for substance in addition to mere utility or style-quotient, is necessary for market segments to widen, and if VW could not do it now, it would take another couple of decades!

I would like to sign off stealing from our friend manjubp though, too apt to ignore:
Quote:
Originally Posted by manjubp View Post
Is there is a way to inform VW about this thread. Without VW reading these thread, all of feedback goes to /dev/null.
Thanks and Regards,
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Old 14th December 2013, 01:01   #49
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

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Originally Posted by F150 View Post
I would like to highlight that this experience varies from dealer to dealer. There were days, when maruti dealers flatly refused test drive for swift saying it has 6 months waiting,so there is no need to test drive it.

That said, Indians love to be pampered and feel good factor makes a lot of impact on the purchase decision. The customer should feel welcome.

Eagerness to sell and service, that is all that is needed from VW. They have pretty competent products.

A SUV in the price range of XUV will do wonders for the company.
The appreciation that I have mentioned is not one-sided and only to HIGHLIGHT Maruti. I have got the same response from Hyundai (For i20 & Elantra TD) and from Fiat (Punto 90 HP TD).

Just gave an example of Maruti here. No offence to owners/fans of VW here.

Anurag.
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Old 14th December 2013, 05:22   #50
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

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Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Just gave an example of Maruti here. No offence to owners/fans of VW here.

Anurag.
I agree here. I have been a Maruti customer for 10+ year with multiple cars, and now started my interaction with VW.

VW pre-sales is way beyond Maruti pre-sales. Although I had very good pre-sale interaction with Mr.Hari from Palace cross VW, Bangalore.
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Old 14th December 2013, 10:34   #51
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

I'm going for a TD today for Palace Cross. Had called yesterday night for a TD and he said he would call me today morning and as said he did call me. Hoping that this honeymoon continues.
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Old 14th December 2013, 11:57   #52
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Smile Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

VW cannot seem to figure out its position in the Indian market.

They seem to think that for the Indian market, cost cutting is most important and a certain level of features is 'enough' for us.

That attitude has been there since launch .

If they are charging a premium for their products they better have the latest and greatest technology. It's not like the customers here are less informed than customers in the western markets (Thanks mainly to Team-bhp )


My Analysis of the solution goes like this:

The market was willing to pay a premium for the best diesel engine in the market when Vento was launched, now with the new Honda diesel its not so clear whether the 1.6tdi is still the best compromise between power and efficiency, so sales are dropping.

The new policy of diesel pricing doesn't help matters as the 1.6 petrol is outdated.

The market is willing to wait and pay a premium for 1.2 tsi in both Polo and Vento.

Same case with the new Octavia, It is a generation ahead of its competitors and hence there is a demand for it even though its priced very high!

The old Octavia also had crazy pricing of spare parts, the market knew about this but at that time it had the best engine (PD), had Xenons etc etc
So it was a market success, not because of cost but because of being a generation ahead.

I think the solution to VW is not to lower prices but offer more value for money at premium prices.

The best engines, safety equipment and loaded to the gills with features.

This is their only option, as they definitely cannot compete with the Asian brands for cost, efficiency or reliability.

Cheers,

Last edited by Diesel_convert : 14th December 2013 at 12:03. Reason: Spelling and added old octavia to the mix
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Old 14th December 2013, 13:49   #53
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel_convert View Post
I think the solution to VW is not to lower prices but offer more value for money at premium prices.

The best engines, safety equipment and loaded to the gills with features.

This is their only option, as they definitely cannot compete with the Asian brands for cost, efficiency or reliability.

Cheers,
Very well put! VW learn't it the hard way that charging a premium for sub-par products won't work and so you see today's Polo/Vento/Jetta offer a lot more features compared to say in 2010 or 2011,especially the Polo.Considering they have no new launches planned till 2015, I see no other way to retain market share with the existing portfolio of they do not offer 'value' which is so important in our market.

Till 2015 it sure looks very challenging to retain existing market share with fresh competition, will have to wait and see if they're able to pick up from wherever they are in 2015 with their new launches.

PS: Something interesting I observed, no intention to deviate from the topic here, but the Honda & Fiat threads (similar titles) had a lot more responses from the forum than this thread. Looks like the 'enthusiasts' are also bored with the current line-up or are upset with the pre/post sales experiences.

Last edited by shashank.nk : 14th December 2013 at 13:54.
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Old 14th December 2013, 15:08   #54
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

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Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
VW must learn from these guys as to how to treat customers and offer a TD of the requested vehicle.
I think what they need to address is inconsistent dealer attitude / behaviour (which probably is an issue with all manufacturers in India). For example, my experience with VW dealership in my city was exemplary – more on the lines of what you mentioned as your experience with the Suzuki dealer. the staff were courteous, the sales manager was honest, transparent, and had good knowledge about their product range. And the test drives were promptly arranged as per our convenience .

But yes, the kind of attitude you mentioned can actually kill the product, which is quite sad considering how competent these cars are (GT TDI, TSI etc.).
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Old 14th December 2013, 17:00   #55
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Had gone to the VW Palace Cross today morning. Had a nice experience. He offered some refreshers, but me and my friend settled just for water.

He explained us the three types of offers that were in place for the Polo, such as 50% pay now and remaining later after an year in EMI, 90% finance by VW and the last the cash discount of 35k. I opted for the last one.

He gave a tour of all the features, which was redundant thanks to teambhp. Then we filled the form following which we went to the basement, where the TD vehicle was waiting. My friend sat in the driver seat and me in the back seat. The torque was too good and even the suspension was great. There were couple of jerks during gear shifts. He also found the reverse gear bit different along with swapping of the indicators. He kept using the wipers. The back leg room is adequate.

After the TD, we got the initial quote and came back. Will be booking tomorrow. Now, need to go to the SBI bank and finish up the formalities.

So, the overall experience has been very good.
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Old 14th December 2013, 20:16   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
I think what they need to address is inconsistent dealer attitude / behaviour (which probably is an issue with all manufacturers in India). For example, my experience with VW dealership in my city was exemplary more on the lines of what you mentioned as your experience with the Suzuki dealer. the staff were courteous, the sales manager was honest, transparent, and had good knowledge about their product range. And the test drives were promptly arranged as per our convenience.
I love VW for all their products. A fan but their dealers are stag are spoiling the whole fun. If you just compare the interiors of the Polo and the Swift the Polo's interior quality, design and feel are leagues ahead. These guys know how to make cars but the staff employed doesn't know good to attract and sell those beautifully made cars. Maruti's intros don't impress much but the brand value and sales impress me.

The extent to which Maruti sales guys go to satisfy a customer is nice. I just asked what color choices are for the Swift - he takes me to the yard where the cars are stored, I mean he could have pointed me to the brochure and told 'these are the colours!'

I am pulled a lot to the Polo GT TDI but the OTR is touching almost 10L which is a bit steep for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
But yes, the kind of attitude you mentioned can actually kill the product, which is quite sad considering how competent these cars are (GT TDI, TSI etc.).
I agree. VW needs to standardize and train their staff to be common in all cities.

Anurag.
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Old 16th December 2013, 11:51   #57
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

When I bought my Vento last year it cost me 12L on road in Chennai. This year when my friend bought it cost only 11.1L on road for the same model but with additional features like upgraded audio. VW was much rigid last year with options and offers than now.

For a car that sells at 12L not having Aux, SD card and Bluetooth connectivity is a sin. As I liked the VW engine and build I had decided to go for it. During the life of the product they must look at giving some decent perks & offers (I would prefer a stereo upgrade, some adhoc check ups and discount in service) etc.

Honda not competing in the Diesel space was a big handicap. Now that they have got their diesel engines here I hope the Germans feel the pinch and improve their customer friendly ways.

Though I feel good with the VW on my daily usage, I feel some kind of cold attitude overall from VW during all my interactions.
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Old 16th December 2013, 13:03   #58
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

My own perspective on VW's India foray is that VW's critical assumptions for India to be a key market have changed for the worse. So VW now wants to pursue its clear global ambitions without India. It probably can ignore India near term and yet be successful.

Here's why.

The critical assumptions and some learnings

1. VW's strategy to tie-up with Suzuki was critical for India access where Suzuki is the undisputed market leader and will continue to be one. But after the initial brouhaha and a few steps forward the partnership cracked. In fact it soon led to a spat and what appeared to be a war of words, most of it coming from Suzuki. As expected both partners exercised their exit options out of the partnerships.

2. VW's Chakan plant had tax incentives that were offered to VW before they set-up the plant - I think it was zero sales tax or its equivalent. That would have added around 5% to its margins in a highly competitive market and would have tilted the economic case for setting up a large plant for a number 10 entrant. However this incentive was later withdrawn and that could have vitiated the tight-rope economics in India. This may also have affected the earlier proposed launch of Up!

3. Indian auto market growth is not turning out as was expected; in fact long term growth is likely to be less than half of what may have been estimated during boom times; and that too on a small base.

Further, VW learnt what every western MNC realizes after coming to India (with personal experience) - India looks great on Excel sheets, during plant and dealer visits and during discussion with partners and vendors; but when you dive in you have a very different India experience, especially if you are catering to the masses.

But VW may still realize its ambitions

VW wants to be the number one car maker by 2018 in annual volumes and profitability. The former essentially means it has to get ahead of Toyota. VW sold 9.07 million cars in 2012 vs 9.75 million for Toyota, a gap of about 7 - 8%. To race ahead of Toyota the following will have to happen in some combination. In sizable markets where both are present, viz US; VW will have to grow faster than Toyota. In sizable markets where VW is dominant, it has to ensure faster %age growth or just maintain market share. Good thing for VW is that it is dominant in China and Brazil which are the large and fast growing markets. Finally it can hope that in sizable markets where Toyota is dominant (Middle East, Rest of Asia), VW is able to compete effectively. Markets like India which hold promise and where VW is almost absent, are small for Toyota too at about 150,000 annually or so and growing slowly (or shrinking). So Toyota can't get the numbers from India to race ahead of VW. Further Toyota is making losses in its India business so VW wont expect Toyota to use India for global growth.

Thus VW could well realize its global ambitions even if it substantially ignores India; keeps it in maintenance mode.

VW claims to be investing $ 80 billion in 10 plants, of which 7 are in China. It's total investment in the Chakan plant is about or less than $ 1 billion. That speaks for what it thinks of India

In other words, India may not matter too much to VW.

Sources (partial list):

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmul...ceably-harder/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21009789

http://www.dw.de/toyota-back-as-worl...ost/a-16576151

Cheers,

Last edited by diffsoft : 16th December 2013 at 13:07. Reason: Spelling and grammar
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Old 16th December 2013, 15:34   #59
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

VW is not an ordinary car manufacturer like Toyota or GM. It has designs to dominate the market ever since India solicited enquiries from car manufacturers like Suzuki for the small car. VW through it's hat in the ring then too. Due to some gaffe it missed out on the opportunity and Suzuki lunged at it and grabbed it with both arms. This is the thinking of their top management.

Now, if they cannot achieve this, they are not just content with small tinkering here and there to their service to improve customer satisfaction. I think almost all their senior management has been briefed to take control of the market and be the monopoly player. Failing this, they wander away here and there. As mentioned above, they took a chance with Suzuki deal, but that didn't work out. Watch out for some new brilliant strategy from their part while their service continues to languish with incompetent technicians and petty-minded dealers.
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Old 17th December 2013, 10:52   #60
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Default Re: Volkswagen India: The Way Forward

One only has to look towards the successful manufacturers in India to figure out why VW India is doing badly. All the top volume players in the market have full-fledged manufacturing in India including engine/drivetrain. As far as I know, VW imports engines from South Africa for its base models which automatically means that they cannot price their cars competitively unless they reduce the engine choice to the base variant of their range. So we have a relatively competitively priced Polo which has an engine that's not in the top 3 in its class, petrol or diesel. VW has to make engines & gearboxes in India and even consider exporting cars/components to make this viable. The same manufacturing facility can easily make their larger engines, particularly the 2.0 diesel that sells in so many cars. This would give them margin and volume advantages. For such a strong brand which is so cash rich, their lack of investment in India is complete idiocy.

I am a firm believer that after sales service will improve with increased volumes and easy availability of parts which would result from making engines in India. Further, if one argues for other parts being delayed like suspension bits, one could still use the car in a rattling condition. Critical bits MUST be made in India. Launching something like the Up!/Citigo then becomes a real possibility.

Once such a move is planned, VW can adjust their product lineup to be priced at Maruti + 5-10%. Customers will pay a premium for better build quality if they are getting the same features and the same or better performance. I'm a Swift Zdi owner who would have a Polo Highline any day if it had a 90-100 hp 1.5 (as they seem to be developing) along with all the features that my Swift has.

VW could also do what Hyundai has done by having one company owned dealer in major cities. This would help them have a closer and more accurate picture of the or of their customers.
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