Volkswagen’s Ameo has been the lowest selling compact sedan in India for quite some time
Volkswagen India has been operating in the country since 2007. However, the company came up with its first India-specific product only in 2016. It was the Ameo sub-four-metre sedan. Volkswagen had realized that India’s compact sedan segment was a good number churner and it wanted to maximise the opportunity. However, things didn’t exactly work in Volkswagen’s favour and now in 2020, the German company has decided to stop sales of the Ameo.
Volkswagen India had invested around Rs 720 crore on its first and only compact sedan project. The car made its debut at Auto Expo 2016 and production was started in May 2016. The product was launched in June 2016 and Volkswagen priced the compact sedan aggressively from Rs 5.14 lakh ex-showroom. In fact, it was the most affordable ‘VW’ product on sale in India — even cheaper than the Polo hatchback (now in BS6 format) on which it was based. The company had also released an interesting TVC on it around the same time.
After a few decent months, Ameo sales couldn’t keep up with the competition and started to witness a slump. In a period of approximately three years since launch, Volkswagen confirmed that it had sold 50,000 units of the Ameo. Just to get a perspective of the time, Maruti Suzuki used to sell over 15,000 Dzire units every month while Honda Car India hit roughly 5,000 Amaze units.
Talking about yearly sales, Maruti Suzuki’s Dzire sales touched 2,64,612 in 2018 and 1,98,904 units the following year. Meanwhile, Honda sold 67,584 Amaze units in 2018 and 67,715 units in 2019. However, Ameo sales could hit only around 500 units per month last year.
The above figures are self-explanatory as in why continuing the Ameo did not make a strong business case for Volkswagen India. Initially, the Volkswagen Ameo was launched with two BS4-compliant engine options: 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel. The MPFI petrol motor was capable of dishing out 74bhp and 110Nm of peak torque and was mated a 5-speed MT as standard. With the diesel motor, customers had an option to choose between a 5-speed MT and a 7-speed DSG (DCT.) The diesel burner was powerful enough to churn out 109bhp and 250Nm of max torque.
Later in 2018, Volkswagen replaced the 1.2-litre petrol motor with a new (and seriously underpowered) 1-litre MPI unit which made 75bhp and 95Nm of torque. At the moment, Volkswagen India is being led by Skoda Auto under either brand’s India 2.0 strategy. It is focusing more on the slowdown-defying SUV segment and has planned for an aggressive onslaught of products till 2022.