German auto major Volkswagen group's Indian arm plans to roll out four new heavily-localized models starting from 2020 as part of its India 2.0 strategy, a top official said Thursday. Under 'India 2.0' project, all models designed and produced locally in the future will be based on Volkswagen Groups MQB platform, and Skoda Auto will launch a volume segment model based on sub-compact MQB A0 platform by 2020. The project is aimed at reviving the fortunes of the group in a highly competitive market that has the potential to grow to over six million cars by 2020.
"Currently we are working on heavily localised cars. We are working on two products for each brand, Skoda and Volkswagen, under India 2.0 (strategy)," Skoda Auto managing director, Gurpratap Boparai, who will take charge as MD of Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd (VWIPL) from January 1, said.
The group recently announced management restructuring in India, as part of its plan to "sustainably strengthen its position", spearheaded by Skoda. In July this year, the group had announced EUR 1 billion investment in India to support the project, which will be driven by Skoda Auto. "It is our second thrust in the Indian market and we are charting a part for our future products," he said adding that to be competitive the group will have to first compete on products with other products available in the market. So making them (vehicle models) affordable and competitively priced is going to be the thrust, he added.
Boparai said that departing from the past strategy, the vehicles manufactured in India would have an up to 95 percent localisation within six month of their launch. Currently, it is 76 percent and in some models it goes up to 12 percent. "At launch, we will have a higher level of localisation than what we have in cars today. We are aiming to reach 95 percent on the vehicle part and that we expect to achieve within six months of the launch," he said.
He said along with the new car models the group will also roll out new engines. Both brands (Skoda and Volkswagen) have also been sharing engines, platforms and components in India. Boparai said the new vehicle models will be India-specific though they will be in the same segment. "There will be slight difference in pricing but they will not be so pronounced as they are elsewhere in the world, Skoda has a different positioning in India then it has in Europe," Boparai added.
There are some refreshed models lined up "but we will not have any mass market product or volume product till 2020," he said. The group is evaluating other products that can be launched. They will be by and large BS-VI compliant with the exception of one or two, which may be with BS-IV engine, Boparai said.
Following the rejig, all group brands in the future, will continue their operations under the leadership of Boparai with a common strategy in the Indian market, as per the company. The restructuring of the Volkswagen Group companies in India is planned for next year, subject to regulatory approvals. Boparai also said that the group's upcoming technical centre in Pune is scheduled for commissioning next year.