Volkswagen Group is testing electric vehicles under the Skoda brand for the Indian market

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German car group Volkswagen has started testing some ŠKODA-branded electric vehicles in India as it assesses products to bring to the country for electromobility targeting the mass segment, according to a senior company official.

The group, which has handed responsibility for leading its growth in India to ŠKODA AUTO, will also continue to focus on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles as it believes that the introduction of electric vehicles on a large scale will depend on the ecosystem and infrastructure development in India. of the country, said Piyush Arora, Managing Director of ŠKODA AUTO Volkswagen India.

“We recognize that there is a demand in India for electric vehicles, so we have already launched the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron which are doing extremely well in the Indian market,” he told PTI. in an interview.

At the same time, he added, “We are also evaluating for ŠKODA and Volkswagen and what products should we bring to the Indian electromobility market. We have already tested test vehicles for the ŠKODA brand, we will assess the right time to introduce them to India.”

Arora was responding to a question about VW Group’s electric vehicle plans for the Indian market below the luxury segment. The all-electric Porsche Taycan has a starting price of 1.5 crore, while the price of the Audi e-tron ranges from 99.99 lakh to 1.18 crore.

In terms of electromobility, he said: “We have followed a top-down approach with our luxury brands, already launching products on the market. Both Audi and Porsche have very successful electric vehicles in the Indian market.

He added: “We are also looking at Volkswagen and ŠKODA cars that we can bring in. We are testing some of these cars and once we have concluded on the model, the next step is the local assembly of one of the cars. We will then move on to wallet localization when the market is ready in terms of infrastructure, that would be the path we would like to take.

“Currently, VW Group is present in India through its brands including Volkswagen, SKODA, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley in the four-wheeler segment.

Globally, Arora said electrification is happening at different levels, with Europe already committed to selling all new zero-emission vehicles by 2035, while China is moving at a very rapid pace. and that North America should also evolve at a faster pace.

The expectation was not very high for India to move, but the country has started to show early signs that it is moving at a much faster pace, he added.

“So I think our strategy of decarbonization and electrification growth will also be followed in India. For the Volkswagen Group, the timing of that will of course depend on the developing ecosystem and infrastructure in India,” Arora said.

Asked how the group sees the potential of electric vehicles in the country, he said: “India is a very particular market, growth in India will come from both fossil fuel vehicles and electric vehicles.

Most markets moving to electric mobility take away the share of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, but in India, both markets will grow.

“In terms of EV penetration, by 2030 it could be anywhere from 15-16% to 30%,” he said, adding that it would be much higher for two- and three-wheelers than for electric vehicles. four wheels. wheel industry.

“The penetration of four-wheeled vehicles will be highly dependent on infrastructure development,” Arora said.

The component supplier ecosystem is also growing and this will take some time to complete, he said, adding: “…you can’t just focus on electrification. You also need to focus in the ICE market, and your resources are ultimately limited”.

The VW group announced in 2018 an investment of 1 billion euros between 2019 and 2021 as part of its strategy to strengthen its presence in the country as part of its “India 2.0” project. It had set a target to capture 5% of India’s passenger vehicle market by 2025.

Sales of passenger vehicles in the Indian market stood at 30,69,499 units in 2021-22, compared to 27,11,457 units in 2020-21, according to data from SIAM.

On the road ahead, Arora said, “Our first objective is to consolidate ‘India 2.0’, make it sustainably profitable and capture the desired market share that we have set ourselves… That would be the goal. for another year to come.”

However, he added, “We began to assess the overall opportunities for ICEs and BEVs (battery electric vehicles) as future growth engines for us. And once we prioritized, Since resources are always limited, you cannot develop or localize all of your products at once. The next round of investment will be based on our preferred products.” PTI RKL MR

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