The 21-day lockdown to contain coronavirus spread appears to be a bold decision, but it is taking a heavy toll on the economy
The auto sector is among the worst hit, as plants have been shut down and there are no customers to buy existing stock. Volkswagen is among the carmakers that have registered significant drop in their sales in March 2020. The German carmaker was able to register sales of just 131 units in March 2020, which translates into YoY loss of 95%. Sales in March 2019 stood at 2,751 units.
With just 131 units sold before the start of the 21-day lockdown on March 24, Volkswagen was the lowest selling brand in March 2020. The company’s market share has dropped from 1% in March 2019 to just 0.1% in March 2020. Of the 131 units sold, 105 units were Polo, 19 units were Vento, 4 units were Tiguan and 3 units of Ameo. The newly launched Tiguan All Space and T-ROC SUVs – both of which were launched last month in India, are expected to be delivered this month to first owners.
Volkswagen is the second largest carmaker in the world, but it still hasn’t got a strong foothold in the Indian market. The company’s product portfolio is pretty decent, but it appears to be lacking in brand awareness and dealer network. Other automakers such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, etc. have a much wider dealer network and greater brand recall.
However, Volkswagen has no plans to give up on the Indian market. The company realizes the immense opportunity available here and will continue to make efforts to gain a larger share of the pie. As part of its India 2.0 strategy, the company intends to gain 5% market share by 2025. The current situation may not be working to Volkswagen’s advantage, but hopefully this will be a temporary phase. Once the coronavirus situation improves, Volkswagen will be aggressively pursuing its growth plans for the Indian market.
On 18th March 2020, Volkswagen had launched its T-Roc SUV at an introductory price of Rs 19.99 lakh (ex-showroom). The SUV is powered by a 1.5-litre BS6 petrol engine that generates max power of 148 bhp and max torque of 250 Nm. Engine is mated to a 7-speed DSG transmission. It may be recalled that Volkswagen will be offering only petrol powered cars in the Indian market. T-Roc will compete with rivals such as MG Hector and Jeep Compass
On 6th March 2020, Volkswagen had launched Tiguan Allspace, the 7-seater variant of the existing Tiguan. Allspace will rival the likes of Skoda Kodiaq and work an alternative for premium SUVs like Skoda Kodiaq, Ford Endeavour, Toyota Fortuner and Mahindra Alturas G4. The next Volkswagen SUV in India will be Taigun, which is a shortened version of T-Cross. Taigun will take on rivals such as Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.