From August to September this year, Volkswagen will begin testing the ID.4 electric crossover in India with a few imported units.
The Volkswagen Virtus marks the completion of the brand’s India 2.0 project, and the German marque is already planning its next moves. Currently, electrification appears to be the next step.
- Volkswagen ID4 EV testing in India to begin by August
- Move to decide next steps in our market
In August, The Volkswagen ID4 EV was put through its Paces in India
“This year, in August or September, you’ll start seeing the ID4 on Indian roads, which we’ll be bringing in for testing purposes,” Ashish Gupta, brand director, Volkswagen India, told Autocar India.
We first reported on Volkswagen’s plans to bring the ID4 electric crossover to India in 2020. Expect a launch sometime next year, with testing starting this August.
Skoda, Volkswagen’s sister brand, has begun testing its Enyaq EV in India, and, like the Czech automaker, Volkswagen will only sell the ID4 as a CBU. Volkswagen India has had success with this strategy in the past. Models like the Tiguan AllSpace and T-Roc were brought in as CBU imports in limited quantities, and they were quickly sold out. In fact, Kia India has followed a similar EV strategy, importing the EV6 flagship in limited numbers first, followed by more affordable, locally assembled models.
However, Gupta admits that EV mass production will have to wait until the second half of the decade. “The supply chain is simply not there in India,” he said. Even if you start today, establishing that localized supplier base will take three to four years. Of course, that is the ultimate goal, but there are a few steps to get there.”
Volkswagen will use the ID4 as a testbed not only for the product, but also to assess the electric ecosystem as well as its own internal and external operations in order to establish a viable business case for EVs. Only then will the company be able to move forward with local assembly and then full localization.
What else does Volkswagen have Planned for India?
With the India 2.0 project now completed, Volkswagen must decide its next steps; the big question, as with all other manufacturers, is whether to invest in electrification or add more ICE-powered models.
In the meantime, the brand is considering additional limited-edition imports. “On the performance side, there’s the Golf GTI and the Polo GTI, and there are customers who love these models,” Gupta said. I’d like to investigate these models further so that our customers can benefit from them. Even on the SUV front, the Touareg might be able to be imported in limited numbers. These are the things I’m considering in order to keep our customers interested in our brand.”
While they may be a long way off, Volkswagen is clearly looking to expand its India portfolio with models from its global lineup, even if only in small numbers via CBU imports.