Volkswagen sets up RnD facility in Pune, has deeper plans for India

The German Automobile giant- Volkswagen has invested about INR 7,900 crore to set up a research and development center in Pune.

Published: 14th February 2019 11:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th September 2019 02:03 PM   |  A+A-

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The German Automobile giant- Volkswagen has invested about INR 7,900 crore to set up a research and development center in Pune. VW says that facility is develop products that are targeted at the Indian audience only. By setting up this R & D facility, VW aims to grab more shares in the local market. Initially, the facility will only focus on developing newer products for its Volkswagen and Skoda brands but in a few more years we might even see the local research department working on VW’s luxury and performance brands, Audi and Porsche.

VW has also stated that with this new technology hub, where it has employed about 250 engineers. The aim is to produce 95% of the vehicular components in the country itself which used to be imported increasing the cost of those products. The facility will initially be working on the MQB A0 IN vehicle architecture platform which is the Indian version of VW’s global MQB A0 vehicle architecture. Talking at a press meet, Volkswagen Group India’s head, Mr. Gurupratap Boparai said, “We expect to roll out the first products, for both the Skoda and the Volkswagen brands, by 2020-21, starting with a mid-sized SUV based on the MQB A0 IN platform”. He also further said that by the time the new product is ready, the company would bring in upgraded variants of the existing models to survive in an already competitive market. It will be a challenging period for VW Group in India until then, Mr. Boparai added.

By the statements of the VW India’s boss, it is very clear that the company would be coming hard on the mid-sized SUV segment. VW has clearly rolled up its sleeves and is all set to take on the likes of Jeep Compass, Hyundai Creta, XUV 500 and the recently launched Tata Harrier. India has always been an SUV frenzy market and craze for SUVs won’t really die until VW comes up with its weapons by 2021. In fact, we think VW’s this move of coming late in the segment is actually a great strategy. By the time VW brings its SUVs, the current cars in the market would have aged and would be screaming for a mid-lifecycle refreshment. Potential buyers will obviously be attracted towards the fresher products that the VW group brings in and it also clearly means that VW will be taking advantage of the stagnated products from other brands.

Now, by mid-sized SUV, does VW mean that we’ll be witnessing the return of the forgotten utilitarian Skoda Yeti? Or are they planning to bring in a newer SUV perhaps the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas. We don’t know yet. In recent times, there were talks about Skoda bringing in the Karoq but there were only talks and no solid implications. It is all going to be a surprise package.

Surprisingly though, with the fever of electrification spreading fast across the globe, the Wolfsburg headquartered company hasn’t commented anything about the use of the Pune technology center for development of electric products. But we’re pretty sure that there are certainly internal development regarding this.

All-in-all, VW R & D center is good news for the Indian auto industry, the Indian economy and also for the Indian engineering fraternity. With all that being said, how excited are you to see the Skoda’s and Volkswagen’s new mid-sized SUVs which can cost a little lower than what they used to be before the factory setup.


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