Europe's largest car maker Volkswagen Group has said that its priority in India at the moment is to create customer confidence and beef up the dealer network.
This sense of focus on dealer network is highlighted by most Volkswagen officials here in the context of the company preparing itself to launch several new initiatives in India during 2011. Among them are the proposed launch of a new Passaat with Blue Motion technology, imminent Think Blue campaign and introduction of new Jetta later this year.
Addressing a press conference during the Geneva Motor Show, Ulrich Hackenber, Member of the Board of Volkswagen Brand and Executive Vice-President (General Representative of Management), Volkswagen Group, said that Volkswagen was keen to be a part of the India growth story. Ipso facto, it was determined to develop the brand. Introduction of new models would depend on the customer needs, he pointed out.
He said technology was not an issue for Volkswagen looking at introducing a ‘A' segment (double zero) cars in India. He said an entry level car could be competitive only if it was produced in India. In this context, he said Volkswagen would have to investigate deeper the technology of its small car ‘Up', so as to find the feasibility of producing it in India competitively. Considering its population, the number of car owners in India was very insignificant. However, income levels were growing. India, he felt, was the best chance for the future. ‘Up' made its debut at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany.
Company officials said that Blue Motion was not just a single technology. “It's a whole range of innovations and refinements that help save fuel and money, without taking the fun out of driving,” they added. Blue Motion technologies represented the cleanest and most energy-efficient cars in Volkswagen range, Mr. Hackenber said. “We've created modified engine management software that makes our engines run even more efficiently. We've also been able to reduce the engine idle speed so you emit less CO2 and use less fuel. Our Blue Motion gearboxes have been reconfigured with longer ratios in higher gears for the most economical fuel consumption,” he added. Volkswagen officials said the new Passat with Blue Motion technology would be out within this first quarter.
They also indicated that new Volkswagen Jetta, a small family car, could hit the Indian roads by the end of this year. Volkswagen has been producing Jetta since 1979.