Volkswagen and Skoda have been trying for a complete image make-over with their India 2.0 strategy
Both the companies have brought in India-specific products and have been trying to improve the post-purchase ownership experience for their customers too. While they have been pretty successful in generating interests of potential customers in their new products, improvement in the ownership experience hasn’t worked out as per plan.
What is the problem?
Over the past few weeks, some owners of VW Taigun, Skoda Kushaq and Skoda Slavia have complained of AC not functioning properly in their cars. Issues have majorly been reported with the 1.0 litre models and not with 1.5 litre engine models.
Customers have reported that the AC of their cars doesn’t work properly, especially in heavy traffic conditions. The issue isn’t common when the cars move on open roads, however in bumper to bumper traffic, the compressor of the air conditioning unit trips off, leading to rise in in-cabin temperatures. Customers have been reporting these issues at Skoda-VW service centers, FB Groups, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. A Skoda customer, Mohit Sharma, posted in a FB Group (Skoda Slavia Club) about AC related issues in his car.
Skoda acknowledges, VW dismisses?
Interestingly, Zac Hollis – Brand Director of Skoda India acknowledged his concern and confirmed that the company is working upon the root cause analysis of the issue and is trying to figure out a solution. Once the solution is established, he has confirmed that Skoda service centers will start reaching out to customers to fix the problem.
Surprisingly, Neeraj Pandey, a Twitter user had a very different experience when he posted a related query on Twitter. He asked VW to share an official statement about the on-going AC concern in Taigun and the way ahead from the company’s end. VW India’s official handle however denied any such existing issue in Taigun and asked Neeraj to not have any apprehension towards VW products.
This response comes after more than a few Taigun customers have expressed their disappointment with the AC performance. One owner even made a detailed video, with thermometer attached on AC vents of Taigun – to show real time temperature fluctuations.
Possible Way Ahead
Going by past track records, we believe that Skoda (and VW?) will most soon figure out the root cause behind this issue and plan on a service recall to fix it in the affected units. All said, it would be in VW Skoda’s interest to address the customer issues soon, before these start to bring in negative sentiments regarding their India 2.0 products. EPC issues from the past surely haven’t helped.
The group’s next big launch will be the Volkswagen Virtus, on 9th June 2022. Official debut of the sedan and even its media drives are over. Now, only the price announcement of the product is pending. We don’t expect Virtus to have a pricing which will be radically different from Slavia’s. It remains to be seen if constant occurrence of technical issues in new gen VW-Skoda products will dampen customer sentiment. So far, sales have been good for the group as all 3 India 2.0 project products, namely, VW Taigun, Skoda Slavia and Skoda Kushaq have been managing decent sales, month over month.
Update – Volkswagen India has shared a new official statement, which acknowledges that some of their customers are facing issues with AC. Their tech team is looking into it.