CHENNAI: Automaker Volkswagen said it has no immediate plan to launch any e-vehicle (EVs) in India, as it makes no sense to be part of India’s electrification plan with no supporting infrastructure. “E-mobility is purely an aspirational and political plan in India. There are no enough charging stations across the nation, which makes it a non-viable plan,” Steffen Knapp, director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, said.
“We had over 65,000 charging stations for electric vehicles in Germany, while India has only a mere 4,000 and we say Germany is not ready,” he added. Currently, electric cars provide an average of 70-80 km per charge in India. This makes the automakers believe electric cars do not offer the same comfort and ride quality as the petrol cars.
In India, multiple narratives in the auto sector have confused the customers’ purchase decision. “The key driver of the total cost of production is the availability of auto parts, especially fast parts,”Knapp said. Higher import duties on auto parts in India, had led to Volkswagen increase in the total cost of ownership which had a bad impact on their sales last year.
Volkswagen had cut the price of car parts by 15% last year to combat the high total cost of production which lowered its sale volume. The German car-maker has about 82% of its car parts produced locally in India.
Liquidity is seen a growing concern among Indian auto dealers, especially with banks being more restrictive on sanctioning loans. Other concerns include birth of shared mobility, subscription model of owning cars, corporates leasing cars for the car manufacturers in recent times. “It is easy to buy software and tools, but it a huge challenge to introduce the market from a traditional set up to digital,” he said. Digital brochures with clear information on price and features of cars are the need of the hour for customers.Volkswagen has a monthly average sale of 3,000 cars in 2018, and expects to sell 1.2 lakh cars in the next four years. It also plans to add five more dealership touchpoints to the already existing 19. The German car-maker has a market share of 1.4% and aims to reach 3% in next five years. “We have plans to launch a new car by 2021 in India,” he said.