We got an opportunity to speak to Kamal Basu, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen Passenger Cars to understand some of the vital elements that define Volkswagen brand and how is the company looking at the upcoming new market segments.
Q1) What is that one aspect of Volkswagen that makes it different from all others?
Ans) It is difficult to list out one aspect, but in total it is safety, drivability and build quality. It is the safety on our cars and fun to drive experience and the build quality, which involves the materials used. These are the aspects that are a part of the Volkswagen Group DNA and one will find these elements across the group brands.
Q2) Do we see standard ABS on all products from VW anytime soon?
Ans) We are looking at evolving across the time. We already offer ABS on all variants of Jetta and it is only the Trendline (Vento and Polo) miss out on ABS. About only five percent of the Polo’s sold are non-ABS and even it comes to Vento, about the two percent of the sales happen of the variants that are non-ABS.
Q3) VW has been the only brand to introduce a double-clutch transmission on a hatchback. What is the response compared to MT in terms of percentage.
Ans) The DSG is a unique differentiator for us and the demand for DSG has outstripped that has kept the customers in waiting. So it has done extremely well as some of the customers are welling to pay the excess premium as has better drivability and excitement when drive the car.
Q4) There are car buyers who ask for more features maybe a push-start and keyless entry and other embellishment. Why will a buyer pick a Polo/Vento or a Jetta?
Ans) At the end of the day, we put in the car what we believe will make a difference to the customers and where we can recover the cost. We do charge a premium for all the segments it operates in, and it is important for us to have a clear set of priorities on what all features are important. So things like push-start and keyless entry we feel isn’t as important as ABS or air bags, so they are of less priority.
Q5) How does VW look at the compact SUV segment?
Ans) We are tracking all the segments and we do have products internationally that will fit in this segment, and we take time to analyse and come up with solutions for each of the segment. This segment is being looked at but no concrete plans at the moment.