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Volkswagen India thinks reducing screen size is better than failing to deliver cars on time

During a conversation, Ashish Gupta, head of Volkswagen India, tells Financial Express about the success the company expects from the new Virtus and how it plans to tackle the shortage of semiconductors.

Volkswagen is reinventing its approach to the Indian market. Its product offensive for the country started with the launch of new SUVs, a body style that has seen great success lately, and then introduced a platform specifically designed for India. Not only that, but the OEM also focused on things like high levels of localization and lowering the cost of owning a Volkswagen. With the launch of the Virtus midsize sedan, Volkswagen has taken another step towards capturing a bigger market share and writing a new chapter to prove its mettle in the Indian market. During the Virtus launch event, Financial Express spoke with Volkswagen India Director Ashish Gupta to get some insight on the launch of the new product.

Gupta mentions that Volkswagen India has already received more than 4,000 pre-bookings for the car. Deliveries to dealers began last month and customer deliveries will also begin with the launch of the vehicle. “Our focus for the next two months will be to deliver cars to meet the pre-bookings we have on hand. Of course, depending on the variant, lead times may differ. Some customers may also have a short waiting period , but beyond that I think it will all depend on the supply chain,” Gupta shares.

For 2022, Volkswagen expects to sell 55,000 to 60,000 cars, but semiconductor supply could make things uncertain. Despite this, Gupta is confident that they will be able to achieve their goal. He thinks the Virtus will be able to capture 15-20% of the sedan market share, which translates to sales of around 2,500 cars per month. “Together, the Taigun and Virtus should represent around 55,000 cars per year, supply permitting. This would mean a 60% sales split for the Taigun and 40% for the Virtus. »

The Volkswagen India manager had hinted at the semiconductor shortage problem earlier and it has been a big thorn for automakers not only in India but across the globe. With the sudden increase in demand for semiconductors in consumer electronics and the massive increase in the number of chips in vehicles, thanks to connected technologies and advanced features introduced recently, chipmakers have not was able to meet the demand. This also had a ripple effect on the supply of vehicles to customers. When asked if Volkswagen has enough inventory to meet reservations for the Virtus so far and in the coming months. He admits: “We are already facing a supply shortfall of 30-40% against our production plans.

Volkswagen’s sister brand Skoda launched the Slavia earlier this year. The Slavia and Virtus share many components and both feature a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless support. However, due to the shortage of chips, Skoda had to offer an aftermarket infotainment unit that was smaller in size and also lacked wireless connectivity. Asked if Volkswagen plans to have a similar approach, Gupta said: “I would definitely like to preserve the premium features that we have in our cars because that’s something customers expect from us. But if the supply situation continues, you have to be practical. And now it’s about taking a call between not providing cars to customers who have been waiting for a long time or maybe removing some features, informing customers in a very transparent way and giving them an economic choice.

Also Read: 2022 Volkswagen Virtus vs Rivals: Price Check

He hints that the Virtus is very likely to get the same treatment as the Slavia in order to deliver cars to customers with as little delay as possible. However, Gupta believes the Virtus is an attractive package and such a move would not deter customers from opting for their latest sedan. “And to be honest, there’s been a lot of talk about reducing screen size. An 8-inch screen is available in the Tiguan which is our brand. Mercedes and BMW have switched to music systems without Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. So that’s a reality that everyone in the market is facing right now. I think customers are also understanding enough to know that such a situation exists for everyone and they are willing to adapt if you are transparent with them.