On the sidelines of the 2014 Polo facelift launch, Volkswagen India director Mr. Michael Meyer confirmed that the company has discarded the idea of bringing the Volkswagen Up! and Fox hatchbacks to India. The official stated that despite both the models were entry-level models in the company’s line-up, the Up! and Fox turned out to be either too expensive or too big to suit the Indian customer’s taste.
For the quintessential Indian customer, the length of the car is directly proportional to its value. While the Up! would be a great product in itself, the hatchback would turn out to be too expensive to sell in India competing against the Hyundai i10, Maruti Wagon R, Chevrolet Beat (Spark internationally) and the Kia Picanto and Renault Twingo in global markets. The Up! is powered by a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine available in two states of tune.
The Fox on the other hand is slightly longer than the Up!. Sold in Brazil, the Fox is powered by a 1.0-litre and 1.6-litre flex-fuel engines and is positioned below the Polo. Volkswagen Group’s Skoda Auto also sells its version of the Up! badged as the Citigo for Europe and other nations. While the German automaker does not have plans to bring down an alternate entry-level hatchback to India, the company’s immediate focus will be to launch a sub 4-metre sedan and a compact SUV in the market.
The decision makes room for the possibility of Volkswagen India bringing the upcoming entry-level hatchback to the country that is currently being developed in China. The German automaker is working in collaboration with its Chinese partner in creating a new budget brand on the lines of Nissan’s Datsun and Renault’s Dacia that will churn out cost effective vehicles on a budget in the future. With no concrete plans to launch its smaller range in the country, the upcoming budget brand does seem a viable option as of now.
With respect to upcoming products, Volkswagen confirmed that the compact sedan won’t be a boot-cut Vento, but would be a rather reworked model based on the same platform. The automaker is also working on to launch the Tiguan SUV and the next generation Passat in the coming years in the country. The new compact vehicles are expected to be launched around 2016-2017 in the country. In the mean time, Volkswagen will also work towards increasing localisation and capacity expansion and has announced an investment of Rs. 1500 crores for the same.