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Volkswagen to give up diesel small engines in India

The two automotive brands showcased two new sports utility vehicles (SUV) -- Volkswagen Taigun and Skoda Vision IN -- both of which will be sold only with petrol engines

February 04, 2020 / 09:44 AM IST

Over the next few weeks, Volkswagen and Skoda will phase out the last of its remaining diesel engine variants used in small cars and sedans. The auto majors are preparing for an all-petrol and battery electric line-up as it gets ready for a fresh new start in India.

The two automotive brands showcased two new sports utility vehicles (SUV) -- Volkswagen Taigun and Skoda Vision IN -- both of which will be sold only with petrol engines. VW becomes the fourth company after Maruti Suzuki, Renault and Volvo to give up diesel engines in India.

Speaking to Moneycontrol, Jurgen Stackmann, member of the board of management, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, said, “Diesel is non-existent in US and China. In Europe, diesel’s share has fallen to 30 percent and in India it is down to 35 percent. We are not looking at small diesel engines for now. The VW Taigun and the Skoda SUV will be coming in diesel engines. We will relook at diesel if we feel there is a need in the future.”

It was diesel engines that got Volkswagen embroiled in a controversy over emission data manipulation, which started in the US before spreading to the rest of the world. In India too, the German giant was forced to recall 3.4 lakh cars across three brands (including Audi) and multiple models after it found that those vehicles were emitting harmful gases higher than rated.

With the end of diesels, VW will not be offering any diesel variants on the Polo and Vento after the implementation of Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission norms on April 1. Diesel engine share in Polo has fallen to 11-12 percent. “It will be only the Tiguan class of vehicles where we would still need diesel engines,” Stackman added.

After putting in place Rs 7,900 crore Volkswagen 2.0 plan, which began in 2018, the company showcased the Taigun compact SUV on February 2. Destined for launch next year, the made-in-India SUV will compete against the segment favourites: Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta.

Built on an India-specific platform called MQBA0 IN, the Taigun is one of the four new SUVs to be launched in India. The new SUV will be powered by a choice of two petrol engines: a 1.0 litre turbo TSI engine that develops peak power of 113ps and a 1.5 litre TSI engine that generates 150ps power.

While pricing of the Taigun will be shared at the time of launch in 2021, the vehicle could be priced competitively, given that there will be a localised content (percentage of parts bought locally) of over 90 percent and around 95 percent thereafter.

Skoda too showcased its own iteration based on the same platform. Called the Vision IN (code name), this Skoda SUV has also been developed keeping the India consumer in mind.

Bernhardt Maier, CEO, Skoda said, “India is one of the most exciting and promising growth markets for Volkswagen group. Together with the VW brand, we are seeking a combined market share of five percent by 2025, depending on the market and segment-side development. For Skoda, India would thus become one of the five largest markets in the world.”

The Vision IN measures 4,256mm long and has a wheelbase of 2,671mm. The vehicle will come powered by a 1.5 litre TSI petrol engine generating peak power of 150ps, mated to a seven-speed DSG gearbox. Its top-speed is 195km per hour and race from zero to 100 km per hour in 8.7 seconds.

Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Feb 4, 2020 09:43 am

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