VW Taigun, the first car based on Up platform, set for India launch

VW’s Taigun is likely to be the first car on the Up platform (codename: PQ12) to come to India. The Taigun concept, based on a stretched version of the VW Up’s NSF (New Small Family) platform, made its debut at the Sao Paolo International Motor Show in October last year and previews VW’s future SUV face.

Measuring 3859mm (just under the crucial four metre mark) in length, the concept features a 108bhp, three-cylinder, turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol motor. The engine bay of the Up is currently not wide enough to take a four-cylinder engine, but it could be modified to receive the new 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel that VW is developing for India.  However, it’s also likely that by the time the Taigun is launched in India VW will have launched a new range of state-of-the art compact diesel engines which would include a compact three-cylinder unit.

According to VW’s R&D chief, Ulrich Hackenberg: “A future three-cylinder 1.4-litre diesel is a possibility for the Taigun and we are looking at it.”

There will be no four-wheel-drive version of this compact SUV as the NSF platform has been designed to be exclusively front-wheel drive. However, the Taigun will feature an Electronic Stability Program.

The Taigun concept car weighs just 985kg, though it remains to be seen how much heavier it will be in production form. With its bold, clean styling, the Taigun is sure to appeal to the Indian psyche. It looks less radical and its less controversial lines are designed to appeal to everyone.

As for the interiors, VW designed it to resemble the simplicity of the latest smartphones. Its clean, minimalist look aims at being visually clear and simple to use.

Hackenberg also said that VW is first developing the Taigun for South America after which the car could be an option for India too. Hence it is unlikely that the Indian market will get the Taigun before 2016. However, for the Indian market, the Taigun, could be stretched even more, closer to the four-metre mark (the cut-off point for lower excise duty), with a further increase in wheelbase from the current 2470mm. “This will offer more interior space, especially rear legroom which is important for Indian customers,” he added.

If it happens, VW will be keen on localising the Taigun to a large extent, as it will help it bring the Up hatchback, saloon and other offerings on the same platform to India to help achieve economies of scale. It is also likely that Skoda will have its own version that could be positioned under the Taigun as well. The senior management at VW has been looking at the success of the Logan-based Duster closely and is taking a keen interest in VW’s performance in India. They know that competitively priced compact vehicles are the way to the future in markets like ours. The Taigun, if launched in India, could take on Ford’s EcoSport that, incidentally, also made its debut in Brazil.