One of the largest carmakers in the world, Volkswagen is having a tough time in India. Proving that if everything succeeds worldwide, it still could be a challenge to make it work in India, a saying which every Indian would agree to. However, it has not stopped Volkswagen from trying. Cheeky advertisements, sending audio messages in newspapers and “chrome newspaper” at the launch of the 2014 Jetta was all but unseen till now from any manufacturer. Sure VW has the power to do this but it has failed to impress Indians with their products and strategies. We as media have conveyed that their products are stellar but you the owners reported that service and sales are not up to the mark.
All of this commotion has made the Wolfsburg manufacturer announce that they are scaling down their Indian market share target to 7-8 percent by 2018 against the 20 percent projected earlier as it struggles to cut through two biggies in our highly competitive market dominated by cheap and cheerful car makers such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Volkswagen states that the environment in India is challenging and it is struggling to find the right product and cost structures to make a deep impact in the minds of customers. Something which EcoSport did for a Ford, another international brand which has succeeded in India. However Ford entered India in 1997.
Volkswagen owns five car brands in India such as Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini. Out of these, only Audi has been able to have a strong say in its target segment, being the only company in the green for the German group. These brands except Lamborghini suffer only because of sky high spare part prices and inconsistent service and customer satisfaction. Sure VW and Skoda have improved by a huge margin but once you get listed on the wrong notice board, turning it upside down can take ages.
Volkswagen has said themselves that the brand failed to get a flying start in India due to heavy competition from cost effective players like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. VW also says that perhaps they made a big splash when they entered and then expected to have the same treatment as they get throughout the world. The same could not be done here in India and coming and conquering the market was not an easy task. We all know that the VW Group is the biggest automaker in China with annual sales of 3.19 million units in 2013, which is more than the size of the overall Indian market. “Viel Glück Volkswagen”!