Volkswagen is planning the launch of compact sedans in the Indian market. Compact sedans in India beat all odds against the slowing economy and this trend can be observed considering the Maruti Swift DZire which sells around 16,000 units a month and the Honda Amaze which sold 9564 units last month. This trend is going no where but up. This seems to be the driving force for Volkswagen to commence work on bringing out an India-specific compact sedan. The carmaker is apparently working on two potential compact saloons currently and ultimately only one of them will roll off the productions lines.
The USP for compact sedans is the pricing. Customers look for right amount of space, adequate features and apt powertrain all combined with a practically appealing price point which makes up for high volume sales that this segment garners. Volkswagen is thinking of bringing in a compact-sedan version of the Vento. The Vento is essentially the sedan-version of the Polo hatchback. Positioning a sub-4 metre sedan between these cars is a challenge by itself for Volkswagen let alone the fierce competition it faces from Maruti Suzuki and Honda. Built on the same 2552 mm wheelbase as the Vento, the new car will be more spacious than the Polo hatchback while it will be much more affordable than the Vento thanks to the tax benefits of a sub-4 metre automobile.
The design challenge on this compact sedan would be to ensure that the vehicle does not look odd following heavy modifications at the front and rear end to embrace the sub-4 metre limitation. Volkswagen is also considering another option which could result in an even more affordable sub-4 metre compact saloon. A sedan based on the Volkswagen Up! could be on cards to cater to markets like India where rear legroom is an important criteria. The Up! has a wheelbase of 2420 mm which is shorter than that of the Maruti Swift Dzire (2430 mm) yet, longer than that of the Honda Amaze (2405 mm). The possibility of building the Up! sedan using the India-bound Taigun’s wheelbase (2470 mm) cannot be ruled out.
Volkswagen will have a couple of issues to overcome before its compact-sedan materializes into the Indian market. A diesel engine of 1500cc capacity for the compact-sedan Vento version is on the works, but it will have to be ready in time for the launch or else, it will not qualify for an excise cut. Alternatively, if the compact-sedan of the Up! materializes, a 1400cc, 3-cylinder diesel engine will have to make its way onto this car. An extended hood is the only viable option to fit this engine on the car. Volkswagen has to figure out novel methods to keep the pricing in the right bracket to even contemplate catching up the segment leaders and the German giant will leave no stone unturned to ensure the same.
Source – Autocar