The Volkswagen Tiguan has just made its comeback in an all-gasoline avatar, and it’s VW’s flagship offering in India. Unlike the previous generation model which was introduced as a CBU, the new Tiguan is assembled locally at the VW plant in Aurangabad. We caught up with Ashish Gupta and told him about the new Tiguan, the success of the Taigun, the switch to gasoline in all segments, the upcoming MQB-A0-IN sedan and even the possibility of the new Polo! Here’s how that conversation went:
Aatish Mishra: How important is it to find the five-seater Tiguan in the lineup?
Ashish Gupta: I think the Tiguan is our flagship product in the country right now, and it was very important that we fulfill that commitment to launch four SUVs in India. With this launch, we have fulfilled that commitment. What the Tiguan does for us is complete our SUV portfolio in India. You can see the line of Tiguan, which is a world bestseller going into Taigun and all, uplifts the brand image.
Aatish Mishra: The launch has been delayed. Was it because of COVID? Was it because of supply issues? Why did this happen?
Ashish Gupta: I think it was more or less related to the supply issues with the global semiconductor topic, which is on the anvil and continuing at this time. That’s why we were about four to five months behind, but it’s here now.
Aatish Mishra: Will the R-Line arrive in India?
Ashish Gupta: Not immediately. Currently, I have no plan to do so at the moment, but in the future we certainly need to investigate.
A M: You always push with a gas-only, TSI-only strategy. How has it worked over the last year, a year and a half. And how do you see it working?
AG: I think it was very important for us to stay true to the character of the brand. We have always said that we want to position ourselves as an ambitious premium brand by delivering Volkswagen’s global DNA in safety, build quality and an enjoyable driving experience. The TSI engine and TSI technology fit right into the heart of this fun-to-drive character. This is why any product that we bring into our portfolio and into India must stay true to that character that we have defined and TSI technology has worked brilliantly for us in all of our products.
A M: But is it hitting sales?
AG: I do not think so. We had foreseen it. We knew the potential of the gasoline engine. If you see right now in the market itself, there is a significant movement in all segments towards gasoline, be it sedans, sedans, even in the SUV segment, there is a huge movement that happens towards the essences. So I think our strategy is perfect.
A M: Is the Tiguan Allspace still available?
AG: No. The Tiguan Allspace and T-Roc were brought into the country under the GSR quota of 2,500, which by the way was applicable to our entire group in India. Our quota for 2021, we have already exhausted it. For 2022, we are still investigating whether we will be able to source these cars, given the supply constraints that exist locally.
A M: Let’s talk about Taigun. What has been the response to Taigun since its launch?