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Old 30th March 2023, 17:14   #31
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

While I agree with some of these points, I would like to add one more data point. Creta is sold through 1600 Hyundai showrooms and Kushaq is sold through 150 Skoda showrooms across India.
i.e. around 13 Kushaqs are sold per Skoda showroom, and 6 Cretas are sold per Hyundai showroom per month. Assuming 2000 Kushaqs and 10000 Cretas are sold per month. (Please do not nit pick on the exact numbers)

And if you take petrol models only, we can see even better numbers in favour of Kushaq. It is pretty clear that Creta is a winner at a numbers game but if Skoda/Vw choose to expand their business to all tier2 cities, we might see tougher competetion and brigther future from VAG group in India.

Another important point, last week I took a cab at Chennai airport and it happened to be Hyundai xcent diesel. And it has 4.6 lacs kms on ODO. While the cab appears to be falling apart but did the job very well over 26kms journey, thanks to Chennai's decent roads. Its hard to imagine such reliability from Vw car, without costing a bomb to fix basic stuff. This factor might play big role when Vw group choose to expand its showrooms to tier-2 cities.

Last edited by ramki.grandhi : 30th March 2023 at 17:21.
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Old 30th March 2023, 17:23   #32
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

Totally agree with this. The Kushaq twins are just too expensive for what they offer. Of course the enthusiasts among us may value driving pleasure a lot more and may be willing to pay for it, but a routine buyer would not.

One such example is in my family itself. My sister was looking to buy a car within a budget limit of 15 lakh max. She absolutely loved the Kushaq since its launch and had made her mind to get one even before walking into the showroom. So for the mid spec Ambition variant, she had to stretch her budget by a good 2 lakhs. I took a test drive too, loved it. Nothing wrong with the car, its just that from the looks of it, it seems it belongs to a segment below. Should be completing with XUV300, Nexon, Venue, and Kia Sonet.
We Indians in general are the kind of buyers where the size of the car should be proportional to the money spent on it. This is where the Kushaq twins falter. The same issue is with the VW Tiguan too.
I guess what the VW/ Skoda didn't understand, is that to compete with the Creta/ Seltos the first check box would be to have the size/ road presence similar to Creta/ Seltos.
While the Kushaq twins have great leg room, given the large wheelbase, but the overall car seems to be a tad smaller compared to rivals.

So my sister visited the Nexa showroom, and the mid spec Delta variant of the Vitara was well within her budget and though the space in the Vitara from the inside is almost the same as Kushaq, but the car overall can be perceived as from a segment above the Kushaq. Certainly looks bigger and has better road presence. So she went with the more practical choice and booked the Vitara. Added advantage is the extremely good resale value of a Maruti compared to extremely poor of a Skoda. She is only going to be using it for within city use so a 4 star (presumably) Vitara would do the job just fine.

Last edited by ishan12 : 30th March 2023 at 17:33.
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Old 30th March 2023, 18:58   #33
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

Honestly, I agree that proper product planning and research can go a long way.
That being said, I feel that the main reason the VW/Skoda's are struggling is not for any standalone reason but a variety of reasons.

See the car as a basket of goodies for the family, because in India - cars aren't bought for individuals, but are family purchases so everyones priorities need to be added into the basket. For example:
1. A child wants features like a panoramic sun roof, cool alloys, cool interiors.
2. Wife may want a comfortable ride and practicality and quality interiors.
3. Parents would value peace of mind, low ownership costs, etc.
4. Someone else may want a car with some WOW appeal

This is in the case of an enthusiast who wants a good driving and safe car - Skoda's primary market base.

For the non enthusiasts, they may prefer smoothness and quietness of drive, ease of drive, etc. which isn't necessarily Skoda's market base.

As a product that is essentially a basket of goods - there are manufacturers who excel in certain departments (peace of mind, low ownership costs - buy Honda/Toyota/Maruti; driving pleasure - get a German), etc. and there are all rounders like Hyundai Kia who offer 80% of buyers requirements (except maybe safety).

Fact is the 2 points Skoda / VW score on (safety, fun to drive) are not big for Indian car owners or are points that are easily downvoted by majority in favor of 'more important points' (space, comfortable ride, low maintenance, features, killer design, etc.).
Take fun to drive : you want a fun car which is anyways a small segment of the market - but the most common response from family: where will you drive fast? How often will you drive fast v/s the number of times you would have family on board? etc.
Take safety for instance : Hyundai / Kia marketing successfully convinces unaware buyers into thinking they are buying safe cars with all the features on offer. How many buyers are aware of GNCAP?

Skoda / VW can do a few tricks like extended warranties with no fine print, buy back schemes, etc. to make their offering (basket of goods) a more stronger solution. They can even capitalize on the fun to drive factor with a vRS option mated to a manual with some added punch, etc. Some of these will definitely help to make their product more attractive to buyers.
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Old 30th March 2023, 19:28   #34
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

I think a 7 seater version of these cars can really make waves. On top of that a strong hybrid would be the cherry on the top.

While my compass has less space these cars have even lesser while the wheelbase is more.
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Old 30th March 2023, 20:14   #35
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

In my opinion both of these products by SAVW are very good and doing pretty well as what is expected out of the VW Group and there is a set customer who has a soft corner for them.

On the other hand the success of Korean twins has a lot to do with their Brand Image - Marketing Spends - Network Reach - Product Research. In the recent years their marketing budget has grown exponentially and it is evident they are seen almost everywhere be it Cricket, FIFA, KBC etc .

They are continuously expanding their network and lowering the service cost and I remember reading something about it last year that most of their products offer lowest running cost/km in their respective segments.

And to an extent they are successful in decoding what the Mass Indian Market wants - Show Off [ No offense to anyone ] so their car will have loads of feature and futuristic tech but it may lack on Safety / Build Quality / Reliability for the price it competes with.

Whereas I feel SAVW is playing safe and going one step at a time - for example launching of 1.5 TSI Ambition variants on KushaQ & Slavia just after excellent pricing of Hyundai Verna. And, they have strong growth potential if they improve on their Brand Visibility / Reliability.
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Old 30th March 2023, 23:45   #36
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

Folks i think that people who buy skoda and Vw in india are people who have a fair idea of what these two names stand for and in reality what they are selling here is really not conducive to their name , hence they are in the situation they are in .
My two cents
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Old 31st March 2023, 09:27   #37
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

I hear about priorities from friends/family members while shopping for a car and I shockingly find no (or least) mention of driving experience!

Most of them start with a feature list (pure desktop or brochure analysis) and undoubtedly the aspiration is as big 'an SUV' as one can afford.

While there are some murmurs about safety, they are more like enquiring about safety features than shortlisting basis the attribute

This might come as anathema but that's the reality.

I recall the press launch of India 2.0 where VAG repeatedly mentioned safety, quality and fun to drive, which reflect quite well (well, almost for #2) in their cars. More importantly, VAG offers a choice which is different from the herd and appealing to (some) of our hearts and I hope that choice doesn't get whittled down on account of market share pursuits

Last edited by GeeTee TSI : 31st March 2023 at 09:28.
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Old 31st March 2023, 10:56   #38
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

The entire chain captures their woes really well. One point I would like to add is very very poor leadership, globally as well as Indian. The major issues have been well known since early 2000 when Octavia was an aspirational car, though soon fell from the perch. If they were really serious about India why did they not address them? A newbie like Kia with probably far less tech capability and a far shallow purse, cracked it in two years? And them, not even after 20 years or so? If Kia had Hyundai to get some market intelligence they had their own data of 20 years!
May be leadership, they are just so oblivious....Baffling!
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Old 31st March 2023, 10:59   #39
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

I think it's a case of brand perception too.

If I walk into a VW/Skoda showroom today and the first car I see is the Taigun/Kushaq, I will be extremely disappointed at what these two brands are offering now.

At the very heart of the matter is the fact that a lot of people consider these two brands as budget-luxury brands owing to their past history of launching top-notch and expensive products.

But the Taigun and Kushaq are far from top notch. In certain areas they don't even feel like true VW products. So for a potential buyer walking into the showroom to look at a quality product, these two cars are a bit of a letdown.

At the same time the Koreans and Japanese have the reverse brand perception. They are known to have cheap and inexpensive products that will get you from A to B in relative comfort and safety. But when these brands start offering slightly better products loaded to the gills with features, then the prospective buyer is awed by them.

You go into a VW showroom expecting a car to score a perfect 10 but it only scores a 9.
You go into a Hyundai showroom expecting a car to score a 7.5 but it scores a 8.5.

It's easy to go for the Hyundai in that case because the VW underwhelmed you and the Hyundai overwhelmed you.

VW and Skoda are stuck in a tight spot. If they launch their global products then they can't price them right and can't capture a huge market share. Their shareholders will eat them alive for failing in a market like India so they have to sell "un-VW" like products to stay afloat.
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Old 31st March 2023, 11:14   #40
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

For common Indian car buyers, features and road presence are the topmost priorities, that too within their budgets. Unfortunately VW Taigun & Skoda Kushaq lack in both these aspects even when they cost as much or even more than the competition. This for me is the major reason for these cars not selling well.
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Old 31st March 2023, 11:22   #41
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

Completely disagree with all the points mentioned. You did not even scratch the surface to find out the real reasons. It's mainly the brand. Very few Indians (only urban dwellers) associate with the name Skoda/VW. The rural areas don't even know the brand well. They need more showrooms, service centers and better reach. Look at any brand that has less showrooms, the sales will be abysmal. All the other reasons like poor interiors, need a facelift are not exactly reasons.

There are many cars (MSIL, TATA) that have poor interiors but do pretty strongly in terms of sales. These brands don't associate well with Indians at all. Skoda debuted in India over 2 decades ago but never did anything to attract a middle class buyer. There is not one single offering that is decently priced. I think even Citroen is trying to do it with C3. The after sales are pathetic and I don't think Skoda even does a market study (intelligence) report anymore. Had they done it (they could have just followed bhp forum), they would have known where they are falling behind.
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Old 31st March 2023, 11:36   #42
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

On a lighter note, images from a parallel universe where the Kushaq and Taigun were massive hits :

The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study-kushaq.jpg

The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study-taigin.jpg

Coming back to our universe. I had booked a Kushaq almost at launch but cancelled it due to reliability and fit-and-finish concerns. But that would not have been the opinion of everyone obviously.

Why they didn't do as well as they expected?

Skoda/VW are more enthusiast brands than mass market brands. So good sales means growing beyond that enthusiast community into the general population.

In enthusiast community, they have an image of bad reliability.

For the gen-pop, they don't look as BIG as the competition, don't have diesel options and are not seen as value for money.
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Old 31st March 2023, 12:04   #43
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

In simple words, these cars do not offer the "road presence" like its competitors Creta and Seltos in the segment. They look small on the road and from an Indian buyer's perspective they do not justify their price tag. Nowadays people are fine to experiment with these German brands, invest north of 20 Lakhs for TATA and Mahindra cars and new brands like MG unlike old days where only Marutis and Hyundais were considered. Please note that these two offer almost the same cabin space and better accomodating boot space than the Creta and Seltos, thanks to the Engineering and Design team, but just do not look as big as their competitors. For the same reason MG Astor is not selling well too, it looks a tad smaller than the Creta and Seltos. I am not sure why this is difficult to understand but this is the bottom line. If this had not been an SUV-crazy market then we would have seen their sedans Slavia and Virtus doing way better than what they seem to now because they look a size larger now.
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Old 31st March 2023, 12:05   #44
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

Apart from many other reasons mentioned above by other members, another reason I think, is the number of sales and after sales service centres across the country and they're even spread across regions. It is a major factor for anyone purchasing a car and instills customers' trust in the brand.

This is a reason not only for VAG cars but others as well. Every brand that left India (Chevrolet, Ford) also had a limited presence mostly concentrated in Tier 1 and 2 cities with less showrooms and service centres in smaller towns and even in district headquarters.

Every other brand that sells well (Maruti, Hyundai, Mahindra, Tata), except a few exceptions (Kia), have much more visibility and presence across the country.
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Old 31st March 2023, 12:25   #45
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Re: The real reason why Škoda Kushaq & VW Taigun don't sell - A Case Study

Here's my two cents on this. The German twins, despite having better build quality, safety, practicality, ride quality (personally) and driving experience than the Koreans, perform poorly in sales, since they're not well known among the general public.

People don't know these cars. I've had several people look at my Taigun and ask me "Woah, what car is that! Never seen one before" and when I say the name, they give the expression of "Never heard of that". Despite Volkswagen/Skoda being in India for the third decade now, people do not know much about their models and only have the surface level knowledge that there is a car brand named VW/Skoda.

Since there is less perception of the brand, less people buy it. Since less people buy the cars, not many people see these cars on road. Since less people see these cars, there is less knowledge about the brand. It's a cycle that can only be broken by bringing awareness.

In my opinion, VW-Skoda's advertising is pathetic. It's easier to find a Polo GTI than to find a VW ad anywhere. And when you find one, those ads featuring fast-paced words describing the features with people walking around the car are not easy to understand. Even Ford, a manufacturer that closed operations here, has better advertising that connects well with the viewer:

Skoda too has a few good ads under its sleeve, like these:

Advertising is key to making sure people know and consider your products. The best example I can give here is Kia. When Kia entered the market in 2019, nobody knew anything about the brand, but it's their amazing "Badass by design" advertising campaign with the Seltos that made them known to everyone. TV ads, YouTube ads, billboards, everything was just Seltos, and this awareness, coupled with a car packed with what Indians wanted and more, reflected immensely on their sales numbers. Within a matter of months, every other CSUV on the road was a Seltos.

Of course, there are some cons on the product itself, like the poor structural rigidity and safety in general, but the graphs by BHPian pqr show how little people cared about it, or rather, how little people knew about it.

In conclusion, I believe the VW/Skoda India 2.5 project should have more emphasis on consumer-targeted advertising, and a bit of focus on adapting the products more to Indian tastes (~Premiumness + VFM factor).
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