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Old 20th June 2014, 22:22   #31
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

Quite simply speaking where is the mass market car? Where are the new launches? The Polo supposed to be the mass market car starts at 5.05 lacs ex-showroom in Chennai. Probably 2 Alto's could be bought at the on road price. Where is the value?

I have great respect for their quality and R&D. But VW have got everything wrong in India.
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Old 20th June 2014, 23:29   #32
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

I think our moderators GTO, Jaggu and Noopster have clearly covered most of it but here is my 2 cents on the issue

I agree that even a 7-8 % market share seems terribly over optimistic given their current performance! reputation and products!

Mind you they have some excellent vehicles as I have found out over the last 3+yrs of owning the Vento but that clearly isn't enough. VW doesn't have a presence in the mass market space at all neither does it have a presence in a few key segments:

1. 4-5 lac rupee hatchback: I don't know what is so special about the UP that they cannot meet cost + quality targets in India. The grand i10 has shown the way how this is done

2. Sub 4 metre sedan: They do have a sub 4 metre Vento in pipeline but it's slated to come out sometime in 2016! I wonder why they need so long to bring it to the market

3. 7 seater MPV: I am not sure they even have such a product that can take on something like Ertiga, Innova, Mobilio etc.

4. Compact SUV: They have a few products here but can't seem to be able to decide which product to get here. The Taigun clearly has the ability to take the market by storm but I don't know which decision maker at VW cannot see the potential it has. Instead what we get is the Cross Polo which is a joke at best especially with that engine

5. Premium SUV (ala Fortuner): I may sound over optimistic but the Crossblue 7 seater concept also has lots of promise for India what with our insatiable hunger for huge SUVs

They simply cannot expect the Polo /Vento /Rapid /Jetta /Octavia to bring them this market share. They would need products in most if not all the segments above

Even with their current line up they don't provide safety features like ABS and Airbags on all models. It's only now that I believe drive airbag is standard on all Polo variants. Ditto for the Vento wherein I get a very barebones car for almost 10 lac rupees. If they really want to differentiate they need to provide safety features on all models! They don't seem to have heard a simple concept called economies of scale else they would have priced the GT versions of the Polo a lot better. They have the tech to bring diesel automatics to the mass market but won't do so! Even the Yeti doesn't get an auto box which defies logic given it's premium positioning.

Pricing is another aspect where they can work upon. A decently specced Jetta or Octavia costs nearly 21-22 lacs leaving a huge gap between the Vento / Rapid and these vehicles. If I want to upgrade and stay within the brand I will have to double my original budget. This is another segment which has been missed by VW. Even for the Polo they need to undercut their rivals from Hyundai and Maruti to pose a half decent challenge. They may need to relook the pricing of the Yeti as it is clearly overpriced. It needs to top out near or about 15 lacs

My experience with their service is bitter sweet and there are a couple of gentlemen on this forum who know of my experience and think I am being extremely nice to VW when I say this. For me a routine service SLA should be I give the car in the morning and receive it in the evening. The shortest I have had to keep the car for regular service is 3 days with a max time frame of 6 days. In today's day and age this is ridiculous. Luckily they have not messed up big time in any of the services. Servicing costs though are about 20% higher which isn't a problem but as I said the time they take is insane. They also have an issue with the spares which never seem to be in stock. I remember I had to pull a few strings for a very small part which they had mentioned would take 1 week to arrive and arrived in 2 days when I made a few calls to a friend who worked for VW after sales

This thread and teambhp in General has given enough suggestions to VW on how to mend their ways now it is upto them to react or be left out! I love VW cars and given a choice would end up buying their group vehicles but it's time they made it worth the while. VW can keep fiddling their thumbs and revising sales targets while Maruti and Hyundai go from strength to strength
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Old 20th June 2014, 23:51   #33
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

Further to my previous post, some basic math.

The Indian car market is currently at approximately 24 lakh cars / annum. I'm no astrologer but, for the sake of argument, lets say the market size increases to 3.5 - 4 million by 2018.

Targeting 8% share, VW is talking about selling over 2.8 lakh cars a year, or 23000 cars / month. Only Maruti & Hyundai have consistently managed to achieve that so far.

To sell 23000 cars each month, VW is going to need a w-i-d-e range of relevant products (hatchbacks, sedans, MUVs & SUVs), a vast dealership network, a fabulous reputation (for sales, service, reliability) and value-for-money pricing. Umm, it's not got any of those right so far...after 5 years of being here.

Not saying it's impossible; who would've expected the XUV500 to sell 3000 - 4000 every month, or the Nano only a thousand? But it's most definitely an incredibly uphill task for VW.

They're basically talking of growing infinitely faster than the market will. Translated, taking share away from others. I'd be curious to know whether this 8% number was based on solid planning, or just pulled out of thin air?
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Old 21st June 2014, 00:17   #34
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

A warranty in my opinion should actually showcase the reliability of a product and hence speak volumes about the manufacturer. If its used by the customer as a shield (word used intentionally!) to keep his car alive on the road, it tells a lot about the manufacturer albeit in a difference sense.

I think they should see the amount of warranty claims to decide, where have they lost the plot (apart from customer service of course). Or they are aware about it and just dont care.
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Old 21st June 2014, 00:24   #35
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

Originally Posted by noopster View Post
[*]"German engineering" doesn't mean you don't empower your service dealerships to handle basic problems effectively. VW/Skoda service motto seems to be, "We have no idea how the hell this works, so we'll replace it!"
[*]Cannibalizing within each other's products makes no sense at all. The Vento + Rapid today sell less than what Vento racked up in its first few (euphoric) months. There is no clear differentiation between the brands, no wonder customers are confused.
+1. Really liked the service motto. If i can, ill extend that. "We have no idea how it works. Lets replace it. Grrrr. What to replace. Inky pinky ponky" as in mr chopras case

Only few customers are aware that skoda belongs to vw group. For those who are not aware of the intricacies, might opt for that costs less since seemingly the 2 cars are same. Skoda would be feeling like a caged parrot under VW wings.
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Old 21st June 2014, 15:08   #36
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

The fact is that both Polo & Vento have a very plain vanilla look to them. While some may like the teutonic understated design, in India it's the cars which are designed flamboyantly that do well (see Verna, City, Ecosport etc). In addition, their products in the mass-market are nil other than these two.

They need to get additional products in, the design needs to be contemporary AND they need to make efforts to improve their image about things like reliability, cost of ownership etc.

I think FIAT is doing a much better job at trying to meet the Indian market aspirations, even though success hasn't met them. Compared to FIAT, VW appears to be non-interested in the Indian market.
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Old 21st June 2014, 15:45   #37
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Such experiences make ownership better and enjoyable. Why can't VW understand this even after knowing their standards set by themselves and their sister company (read Skoda).
Well said Anurag. Dealership experience matters. Problems will arise with any car brand but the attitude & eagerness with which the issue is solved matters the most.

In 2011, when I was looking to buy my car, the local VW dealership didn't even bother to offer me a test drive. When I said that I wanted a test drive, I was curtly told 'Sir, this is German engineered car. I can arrange a TD only in 2 weeks'. (This was back when VW was in high demand). I promptly went to the Hyndai dealership & bought a top-of-the-line Verna SX.

There have been scary stories of repeated failures of the VW automatic transmissions & how the company has been trying to skip the responsibilities. Attitudes like this will ensure that VW will be like GM in future.
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Old 21st June 2014, 16:01   #38
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

Reading around the posts in this thread and some other threads, and by the feel I have inside of me is that VW has desirable cars in form of Polo & Vento. But the general people are apprehensive of buying them because of the arrogance or lack of after sales support. Brings me to an interesting question that 'Would you buy a VW car if the after sales support is improved to somewhere in the league of say, Hyundai?'

You know what, my answer will be yes. And a lot of people who are 'accused' of bashing VW on the forum (if fact, bashing the bashers is a new trend here!) will gladly lap up even VW's existing cars, even though the portfolio is now aged.

Not only VW, Skoda has a lot of desirable cars (even in the segments which VW cannot indulge into), like the Fabia (now discontinued), Rapid - another good looking car in its segment, then there is the Superb, Laura, Octavia and what not. They can achieve so much just by one correction. Sad to see that they still cannot get to the root of their own problem.

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Old 21st June 2014, 16:31   #39
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

Sometime in 2009 while on vacation in Goa, I had spotted a convoy of VW Polos that were undergoing testing. If you have the patience, you should be able to find the pictures in the 'VW Polo spotted' thread.

These Polos came fitted with the smoked lights that you see in the recently 'face-lifted' Polo. Yes, it took them three years to give us those lights. And in the coming months, we should see another mild facelift. I can even bet on the fact that there will be another facelift two years from now and this updated car should come equipped with features that ought to have been there from day one!

This is precisely the attitude that makes me think, "Why?"

And what happened to the Up! supermini? They could have made hay with that car if they had bothered to bring it here instead of merely displaying it at the Auto Expo. Even if it required them to position the Polo slightly higher!

VW is clearly not serious about the Indian market. If they were, they wouldn't shortchange customers to this extent.

Alright, let's forget about the products and assume that they're perfectly alright. What about after-sales / service? Why can't they pull up their socks instead of whining about how tough the Indian market is? I just don't get it.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 21st June 2014 at 16:32. Reason: typo
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Old 21st June 2014, 16:31   #40
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

When GT TDI was released, i had registered for a test drive on their website. The first call i got was 3 months later from Mumbai asking how was the TD and when am i booking the vehicle. I told them not one dealership had bothered to call me for a TD. The usual pre-cooked reply from the caller that she will ask the dealer in Bangalore to give me a TD. No one bothered to give me a call. Again i get a call last month asking for how the TD was and when i was planning to book the car. I gave a earful to the lady and asked her to convey the message to the marketing heads that if they continue with such a attitude they will be beaten to death by the competition .

Its high time VW mends their attitude towards Indian customers. The customers are treated like they belong to 'third world countries' and are privileged to buy a VW car!
The old plain jane cars being sold with German engineering tag will take you no where.

Revamp your product line up. Accept the faults in the vehicle and parts replacement in warranty.Your cars fuel system is delicate.So many failures in that area.And don't blame on bad quality petrol/diesel.The Maruthis /Hyundais/Mahindras are also drinking the same petrol/diesel. Be humble to the customer. He/She is the one who is paying you. Train your dealership to be courteous to the customers.

If you don't take drastic measures , i am telling you - 8% market share is impossible ! Heck even 4% share is not possible. I seriously doubt how you even came to that 8% figure. Please revisit the calculation. I even doubt if you have a proper road-map for the next five years!

Wake up or Perish
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Old 21st June 2014, 16:46   #41
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

VW is investing so much in India they must be serious about the market. I believe the top management in Germany seriously needs to consider overhauling top management here. The decisions by the management here are very puzzling. Apart from the already mentioned cannibalization by sibling brands and over pricing of certain models, some decisions were outright silly from the business perspective. Take for example, the introduction of Polo GT-TSi. What was going through the of decision makers head? They could not sell a Manual-1600cc-105bhp-hot hatch for 7 Lacs, so instead, they phase the product out and launch an Automatic-1200cc-105bhp-hot hatch for 9 Lacs, and hope people would buy that!! Thatís just pure arrogance.
Regarding the dealership and service.....I had to deal with 3 dealers during the 9 months that I have owned my car, on either one of my friendís behalf or my own, I can safely assume one thing- VW conducts a test, when handing out dealerships, to see how much the dealer could lie. The one who lies the most is awarded the dealership. I mean you ask them anything and the first thing that would come out of their mouths would be a lie.
My friend and I bought our cars from the same dealership (Rohilkhand Automobiles, Bareilly) on the same day (BIG BIG Mistake!!!). There were many problems that we faced once we booked the car but the worst was suffered by my friend, who met with an accident, while driving home after the purchase. I was in my car behind him and saw the whole thing, which was very scary. RCA done by the insurance guy later revealed that the steering rod of the left wheel was loose (the dealership should have checked that during PDI) and got detached during driving and hit the tyre, which then burst. Luckily my friend was not hurt as there was some room on left side. We were left stranded with the car on highway at 11:00 in the night and the nearest dealership with flatbed was 100 Kms away. The RSA was also less than helpful. I had to take my car to another VW service centre (VW Moradabad) the very next day and when told about the incident, the manager of the service area did the PDI of my car, free of charge. I have, since then, only taken my car to this service centre and compared to others the experience has been exemplary.
VW should clean up their act very soon or the new projection of even 8 % market share is just a pipe dream.
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Old 21st June 2014, 19:31   #42
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

I think this statement of 8% market share is just a "job-saver" from the India top brass. I am sure they know that it will not be possible, but if they say that, then they get shot and lose their cushy job. So why rock the boat now? Just play along - making soothing ppt decks for the parent company.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 15:40   #43
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Angry Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

If they are dreaming about 8% market share, the top management must be smoking something.

Incompetence cannot be covered by marketing!

Anyone who has had to experience problem solving by VW/Skoda will definitely not buy another car from them!

Routine service last time, I discovered that they hadn't replaced the air filter, paid for another one. Not a single apology from anyone!

No correction mechanism for dealership behaviour exists you try contacting manufacturer you are ignored.

Brake shudder problem well documented for Vento / Rapid, NO real solution exists after 4 years in the market.

For all the engineering excellence they talk about a lack of reliability is laughable.

If your product is not reliable its junk engineering.

I have also experienced Fiat dealerships at their worst in the early 2000's.

I can tell you that Skoda service is significantly worse thanks to a combination of arrogance and incompetence.

I am quite certain that in 3 years time they would have lost market share.

If you want European build+dynamics stick to Ford / Fiat .

Last edited by Diesel_convert : 22nd June 2014 at 15:42. Reason: grammar
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Old 22nd June 2014, 21:22   #44
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

Looks like they are in heated competition with their other European rival, Fiat, for the bottom of the ladder position.

As a Vento owner, I've never had an issue so far. The car is perfect, excellently stable at high speeds and is quite luxurious in terms of its interior feel. Yes, the product line-up is quite old but what worries the new buyer is that they are STILL ironing out issues with the mechanics and electronics of the car. That itself says something about their challenges in India. My recent service experience was also pretty good. Link (Good service experience with VW Bangalore (Elite Motors))

And, I think we are comparing apples to oranges when we compare a Maruti to a VW. They are different brands with different target audience. Maruti's VW competitor, the SX4 (right?) was a complete failure. Maybe there are other examples as well. Then again, there's a Verna kicking butt every year. So, it's a hit or miss in some areas.

I just hope they bring in their new products and not wait till the current model falls apart like Fiat. Fiat, being close to my heart (my first car in India was a Palio), is really making crazy decisions. For instance, the Panda. It really confuses me why they wouldn't sell it here.

Same with VW. Why would they choose to NOT sell the Tiguan here. It's the perfect bridge vehicle for their higher segment cars.

Anyways, I just hope they don't close their dealerships and leave us high and dry! That's all I want.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 23:23   #45
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Default Re: Reality check for VW: Lowers marketshare target for India

My two cents:

VW needs to figure out what kind of car they want to sell.
Maruti has traditionally appealed to the kind of buyer who wants a reliable car that is cheap to own and run and still pretty nice to drive (read: Swift/Dzire). Hyundai has tried to provide more bang per buck than anyone else (the Verna when it was brand new?). What is Volkswagen's USP? "German Engineering" sounds fancy but it doesn't quite cut the mustard - what good is a beautiful, well-made cassette player when everyone else is selling iPods? So what if it's available in a plethora of colors, shapes and sizes?
VW can attribute its past success to two things: snob value and rarity. All good things come to an end however, and this seems to be the case with the perks listed above. In this case, the Vento and Polo value propositions are insufficient. They are, in simple terms, a whole generation behind.

Making different variants of the same car does not help either. To use a tech term, dedicated>integrated. A CrossPolo is not an SUV (Taigun for Pete's sake) and a Polo Trendline is way too expensive for what it gives you; an Up! would sell better.
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