After unveiling its midsize sedan for the Indian market – the Volkswagen Virtus – on March 8, the German carmaker is gearing up to the car’s launch, slated for mid-May 2022.
With the Virtus that replaces the Vento in its current portfolio, the company is eyeing a share of 12-15 percent of the midsize sedan segment, which it expects to grow to 150,000 units by next year.
“Whenever a strong and differentiated product enters the market, it tends to grow its size,” Ashish Gupta, brand director, Volkswagen India, told Autocar Professional.
“The premium midsize sedan segment was pegged at 90,000 cars in 2021, registering a 28 percent year-on-year growth over 2020. Now with the Volkswagen Virtus as well as Skoda Slavia coming in, I believe the segment has the potential to grow to 150,000 units annually by 2023”, Gupta said.
The segment in question is dominated by Honda City, with other products like the Hyundai Verna and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz being the prime options for customers. The dearth of choices in the space comes from the fact that UVs have swayed buyers away from sedans in the recent past.
UV sales, particularly in the passenger vehicle (PV) segment crossed the one-million-unit milestone in FY2021, recording a 12 percent year-on-year uptick. More importantly, the share of UVs in the overall PV sales in the country has only increased, reaching 32 percent in March 2020, as against 14 percent in March 2016, when sedans were seen enjoying a 21 percent market share, which slipped to mere 9 percent in just four years. “With the kind of package, the Virtus is going to be a reason for customers to look at this body style once again,” Gupta says confidently.
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