It is a known fact that even though German vehicles are loved by Indians, we have always been sceptical about their reliability and rightly so. There have been many cases of German vehicles not being able to withstand abuse given out by Indians and Indian road conditions. While Mercedes, BMW, Audi, etc. don’t have much of a reason to worry since they cater to only premium segments, it is Skoda and Volkswagen who are worrying more because both of these companies produce mass-market cars and they really need to pay attention to their vehicles and adjust their engineering according to the style that is preferred by Indians.
The Volkswagen Polo and Vento and the Skoda Rapid are mass-market cars with a decent amount of sales every month. However, it is the Korean Hyundai Verna and the Japanese Honda City which sell far more than the Germans because of their ability to work reliably in our road conditions without major issues. It seems the Japs and Koreans have hit the right chord when it comes to understanding what Indians require and want from a vehicle that they buy. Now, Volkswagen and Skoda are also developing new products in association with Indian firms that understand exactly what a buyer wants out of his vehicle.
Skoda is working on the new Rapid and right now the product is under the initial development stage. The concept is called P Release and Skoda Auto has tied up with Mahindra Engineering Services to convert this ambitious project from the initial concept stage to a properly designed product that will be feasible for sale in our market. Officials from Skoda Auto will brief Mahindra Engineering Services about their requirements and it will be entrusted to them to adjust the product for our roads. Since compact vehicles (under 4-metres in length) get tax subsidies in India, Volkswagen is developing a new sub-4 metre compact sedan for the Indian market.
Volkswagen’s new sedan will be slotted between the Polo and Vento and the company wants to expand its customer base vastly with this product. The automaker wants this product to go right and hence they have associated with Defiance Technologies which belongs to the Hinduja Group to study and design the new product. While we can see international manufacturers tying up with Indian firms to get the products correct, there are also Indian automakers who are getting associated with international design and engineering firms for their own products. Tata Motors and Mahindra have assigned some work to South Korea’s LG and Italy’s Pininfarina respectively.
Source – Economic Times