Volkswagen Up! sees re-engineering for Brazil; Will a similar approach be adopted for India?
The Volkswagen Up! hatchback is the German brand’s entry level product that is aimed at big volumes. Thus far, the Up! was aimed mainly at developed markets with repeated assertions that the car needs to be re-engineered to make it less expensive for developing markets. From the latest spyshots of the Up! doing the testing rounds in Brazil, it seems that the re-engineering has already begun. The Brazilian version of the Up! is touted to get a redesigned rear end with the rear seat getting more spacious. Along with these changes, expect more changes with regards to localization to make the Up! more affordable for the Brazilian market.
A while ago, a few Volkswagen Up! hatchbacks, in right hand drive guise, and with five doors, was spotted in Pune, without any camouflage. So, Volkswagen India too might have a plan or two up its sleeve, to bring the Up! to the Indian car market. India, being an extremely cost conscious market, more so in the entry level small car segment, means that the car would need to be heavily localized. Volkswagen India has been tight lipped about bringing the Up! to India although the car maker has indicated that it is evaluating whether the car’s cost can be reduced by enough to suit the Indian car market.
Internationally, the Volkswagen Up! competes with the likes of the Nissan Pixo and the Suzuki Alto(Maruti A-Star) in India. So, the Volkswagen Up! will have to be priced between the INR 3-4 lakh mark, for it to sell well in India, a car market in which small cars still constitute almost 50% of the overall car sales. The Up! is available in both internal combustion as well as electric variants. The petrol engined Up! is powered by an 800cc, three cylinder engine that is available in two states of tune, 59 Bhp and 74 Bhp. The electric variant of the car though is destined mainly for European markets at this point in time.
Volkswagen group automakers Skoda and Seat too have their own variations of the Up!, in the form of the CitiGo and the Mii respectively. In India, Volkswagen has been able to gain some momentum with the Polo hatchback and the Vento sedan’s launches but sales have hit a wall over the past few months. So, the Up! could be a game changing product for the German car brand in the Indian small car market.