VW India to Indian Autos Blog – Won’t launch Up! until localization hits 90%
Shakti Budhiraja, Forget about love, I Dream, Sleep and Eat with cars...
Indian Autos Blog visited the ‘Urban Mela’ at Indrapastha Millennium Park, Delhi this week where we got the chance to hold a rare interaction with VW India.
The event is being held by the Indo-German Chamber from the 26th of October to the 4th of November to showcase future solutions for the ever decreasing spaces in city and the ever increasing demands for cars and energies.
[Left – The VW Nils Concept could someday head to production; Right – The Micro City Concept is ambitious and innovative.]
One of the major participants of the event was VW which showcased the company’s preparation and readiness for efficient, productive and green technologies.
The theme for the VW Pavilion is “Sustainable Mobility – Solutions for today and tomorrow” with four sub sections Strategy, Responsibility, Sustainability and Innovation.
Highlights of the VW stall:
- The all-electric single seater ‘Nils’ concept car, which was showcased at 2011 Frankfurt auto show, is on view.
- A Micro City concept (scale model of a city) showcases the space solutions for ever decreasing city spaces.
What we found relevant and innovative:
- VW “Modular Transverse matrix” platform is explained. VW group has introduced a mega platform sharing program for Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW brands worldwide.
- Under the MQB Platform the VW group will share its basic components across its range from Polo to Passat thereby reducing production and development costs.
A summary of the discussion with Mr. Alexander Skibbe (head of communications, Volkswagen India):
Q: Alex, when can we see the VW Up! in India?
A: VW Up! is amongst the very important offerings for India, it’s still under testing to have the perfect combination to suit Indian market. At present, the localization content for Up! is 70% but unless we increase it to 90% we won’t be able to offer it at the price bracket we target to be in.
(We think Volkswagen has to localize engines to touch 90%. Currently Volkswagen do not have a manufacturing facility for powertrains. They are imported and assembled in Pune.)
Q: Is VW Up! a car for developing markets?
A: VW never had anything under Polo to offer, the VW Up! is a solution to ever growing city demands be it in Europe or Asia or anywhere in the world. It’s a quality product and not a cost sensitive product.
Q: So what is VW Up! as a product?
A: The Up! is like an iPod, it’s revolutionary for its purpose which offers lots of features and quality yet the platform is flexible to offer derivatives for other products to come.
Q: Can we see products like the VW Fox, which is not expensive yet offers good space with quality, here in India?
A: Fox is an old product being sold in the Brazilian market from some time. In India we want to sell global and the latest products.
Q: Why don’t we see more of BlueMotion offerings from VW India after the Passat?
A: Firstly all technologies come at a price and right now the Indian market has not matured to pay extra for the environment. Secondly under the Bluemotion offerings we reduce the ground clearance to improve COD (Coefficient Of Drag), and for mass market products it’s not feasible to introduce this right now taking Indian road conditions into consideration.
Q: When can we see diesel hybrid technology, showcased on the XL1 concept, used in mass market VW cars?
A: Hybrid technologies are expensive to adopt as its major component, the Lithium Ion battery, is expensive, and secondly to make this technology more common, manufacturers need support from governments and consumers
Q: What are manufacturers doing to make electric vehicles more popular and feasible to use?
A: First to serve the purpose of electric vehicle being emission free we need to use the energy coming from green resources and not fossil fuels. Secondly manufacturers across the globe are in discussion to make a common charger for all the future electric cars to come.
Q: What is the scope of Nils concept car displayed here in the Urban Mela?
A: Nils is concept car for a single urban user who needs a compact car to travel small distance within the city yet doesn’t want to compromise on features and safety. The car is tech-laden as well as safe.
Q: What can you tell us about the Micro City concept unveiled here in the Urban Mela?
A: Micro city is a concept to display how we can utilize city space in more efficient ways by creating small micro cities within the cities to optimize the use of limited space. Under the micro city everything is cross linked in a way where all the usage is need driven, for example a school can be used after its working hours as a place to stay and offices could be hired for a time period we need, and public transport is linked to your private transport to optimize usage.