Updated on 17th November 2013
We had reported last year that Volkswagen could bring a compact sedan based on the Volkswagen Up to India to give the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire a run for their money, now Autocar India is reporting that the company is almost ready with two compact sedan prototypes for the country. Yes, you heard that right, they are evaluating two models, one will be a Volkswagen Up Compact Sedan concept, the other will be the Volkswagen Polo Compact Sedan concept. Only one of the prototypes will be given the green light for production.
The move comes in the light of the fact that the compact sedan category is one of the few in the country which has not seen much of a slump, and almost every other manufacturer here wants a piece of this lucrative pie. Volkswagen has many hurdles to cross before it can launch the car in India though, first it does not have a small diesel engine on offer, it is working on a 1.5-litre diesel motor but it could take time. Secondly, both the cars would have to be heavily modified to be spacious on the inside, fit inside the 4-metre threshold and be able to fit the engines that Volkswagen wants to put int hem, the cost of making the car could be exorbitant. Thirdly, there is the matter of quality, the company does not want to make the blunder of losing the tag of a premium quality car maker to make more profits.
The compact sedan, if it is produced is not expected to hit the market before then end of 2015, whatever happens we will keep you posted. Keep following Car Blog India.
Updated on 15th September 2012
Volkswagen Polo was a hit as immediately as it entered the market. Later the company introduced its sedan variant, Volkswagen Vento and once again it created a strong stir in the market. Today majority of the company’s sales comes from these two models and they are quite popular among new buyers for their design and performance.
We also know that the next most important product that Volkswagen plans to bring to the Indian market is Volkswagen Up. The VW UP has been spied in India a couple of times which hints that very soon it will be here. Considering the success of the Polo and Vento duo, Volkswagen has started working on a new compact sedan for the Indian market. Firstly it is sheer demand for compact sedans which has led to this new Volkswagen product and secondly the tax benefits that sub-4 meter sedans avail. This will be the Volkswagen Up compact sedan in India which will compete with cars like Maruti Swift Dzire and Toyota Etios sedan.
It is pretty obvious that there is no other product to come except for the UP hatch and expectedly the new sedan will be essentially an UP sedan or saloon using the stretched platform of Volkswagen Up. We have also heard about the same in the past, which confirms that the new sedan is going to be based on the UP. The new Up sedan/notchback will fall under the sub-4 meter category and will feature a 1.5 litre diesel engine. Condenamed ‘EA 189’, the car derives its engine from the existing 1.6 litre unit so as to get benefited from the small cars excise duty of 12 %.
Sedans with length over 4 meters and engine capacities of 1500 CC and above attract an excise duty of 24 %. So trimming down the size of a car does help in many ways. One of the best examples, better than the Polo-Vento, is of Swift and 2012 Swift Dzire which proved to be perfect for the Indian market.
In fact other manufacturers are eyeing at the same space too. While Mahindra & Mahindra will bring a compact version of Verito sedan, Honda plans to launch a sedan based on the Brio.
While refusing to give specific information but at the same time confirming that a sub-4 meters is under consideration, John Chacko, Volkswagen Group’s chief representative for India said:
“After being in India for three years, we have to adapt to a certain extent as far as the regulations (read excise duty) are concerned…. Definitely we will have to work on engines, right up to the length of the car”.
Lately the compact sedan segment grew by 30% while the overall market improved by a mere 7.2 % only. The Volkswagen Up compact sedan will try to benefit from the rapid growth in this segment in India.