New Delhi: German auto major Volkswagen (VW) is targeting to corner around 10 per cent of the fast growing mid-sized SUV market in India by next year as it launches its new model Taigun, according to a senior company official.
The company on Thursday launched the Taigun at an introductory price range of Rs 10.49-17.49 lakh, to take on the likes of market leader Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.
The Taigun is VW's first product under its India 2.0 project, through which the VW group had in 2018 announced a target of garnering 5 per cent of Indian passenger vehicles market by 2025 with group firm Skoda Auto taking the lead.
The group had also announced an investment of 1 billion euro between 2019 and 2021 for the project.
Commenting on the launch of Taigun, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India Brand Director Ashish Gupta said the mid-sized SUV segment in India is a large, growing segment with total annual sales of around 4 lakh units.
"But if you look at it very objectively, the choices for the customer are limited. It is after all dominated by two players currently, that is why I believe that the Taigun with the fundamental Volkswagen DNA, build quality safety and fun to drive experiences, will surely offer a very good value proposition to the customers which will end up growing the segment itself," Gupta told PTI.
Stressing that VW doesn't consider the players already there in the market as competition, he said,"I think, together we will end up growing the segment even more."
In June this year, group firm Skoda Auto India had also entered the segment with the launch of Kushaq, priced between Rs 10.5- 17.6 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
When asked about VW's expectations from its new model, Gupta said,"Our target is to get at least a 10 per cent share of the segment of mid-sized SUV in India from next year onwards. This year anyway, we are launching at the end of quarter three and this (target) is applicable for next year. Frankly, we can sell more."
While VW has been offering products like hatchback Polo and mid-sized sedan Vento, he said,"It was time to start looking at newer segments and newer opportunities and new growth segments in the Indian market and SUV definitely is the trend in the Indian market."
The mid-sized SUV where the Taigun will set has witnessed very good growth over the years, which will continue, he said adding,"That is why when we envisaged this project, it was clear that we wanted to be in the heart of the growing segment..."
On the importance of Taigun, Gupta said,"From a brand point of view this is a significant moment for us. We are now again getting back with larger volumes into the Indian market, that itself very clearly demonstrates the commitment that the VW brand has to the Indian market."
VW has spent the last three years in planning, building and putting together all the product, marketing and pricing strategies, he said, adding the launch of Taigun "is the culmination of all that effort over the last three years".
Underlining that the India 2.0 project of the VW group was always to be a two-brand project -- Skoda and VW - he said,"Without Volkswagen being part of it, that project would never have taken off. So the Taigun is our first brand product on the India 2.0 project."
Addressing media at the launch, Gupta said the Taigun has already received a robust response from customers with 12,221 pre-launch bookings so far.
In terms of localisation of the Taigun, the company will have up to 95 per cent with some engine components being imported, he said adding "the effort is to even put localisation on that as well".
The Taigun comes with two petrol engine options - 1-litre and 1.5 litre with manual and automatic transmissions.
It will be rolled out from VW's Pune plant which has an annual production capacity of 2 lakh units a year. The unit also rolls out products of group firm Skoda.