India becoming a global player and is in Volkswagen Group’s focus: Oliver Blume
India is among the major global markets being explored by the Volkswagen Group for local production of EVs, but the Group will adopt a step-by-step approach in the country, says Volkswagen Group chairman.
"India is becoming a big player in the world" and it is in "Volkswagen Group's" focus, says Oliver Blume, the chairman of Group Board of Management at Volkswagen AG.
As the world's second largest automaker accelerates into the zero-emission era with a massive 150-billion-euro (Rs 13,18,200 crore) investment over the next five years, India is seen as one of the key beachheads amongst the big global markets from the Group's perspective.
"India is a very important market because it is already the third biggest market in the world and we are very impressed with the way the country is evolving," said Blume, in an exclusive chat with Autocar on the sidelines of the IAA Mobility 2023 in Munich.
He pointed out that in the past decades, there were occasions when it seemed that India would emerge stronger but (it did not) but now the country is well placed. "Sometimes, it was expected that India would come but now I think the circumstances are quite better. Because of the huge technology know-how and you have digitalisation and to me it's stunning how the digitisation works in your country. You are paying with your mobile phone that went so quickly so I think there is big potential (to grow)," he added.
MEGA FOCUS ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The Volkswagen Group, on its part, has committed over a billion euros (Rs 8,788 crore) in the past five years as part of its India 2.0 plan and the Group is very close to finalising an additional one-billion-euro plan under its India 3.0 vision statement, which envisages entry into locally produced electric vehicles.
"What I see is with electrification, with the infrastructure that needs to be built for in the future, India is in our focus and I think it's interesting to see how the Indian community is developing and motivating to become a big player in the world," added Blume.
While the Volkswagen brand has plans to create a portfolio of 11 electric vehicles globally by 2027, Skoda plans to launch about half-a-dozen EVs across multiple price points in the next five years.
The Group’s premium brand Audi won’t be launching any new internal combustion engine model after 2026 and even Porsche expects 80% of its total sales to come from EVs.
Both Volkswagen and Skoda have been able to work on an entry price point for Europe at about 25,000 euros (Rs 21.97 lakh). To participate in the mainstream EV market for India, the Group is currently figuring out the right solution for the Indian market.
“For electric mobility, we need to get the right product at the right price point for India . . . especially for the Indian market's lower price segment. We will need some time to embark on it – but there is a big potential for electric cars in India,” affirmed Blume.
The head of Europe’s largest automaker says the Group is exploring all regions of the world for localisation of EVs including India. India remains on the Volkswagen Group’s radar because Blume said, “India is an interesting market. We will watch how the market develops and we will do it step by step (launching EVs)."
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