Made-in-India Volkswagen EV Coming Sooner Than Expected

German auto giant Volkswagen (VW) has confirmed its first made-in-India electric vehicle (EV) is expected by 2025, several years ahead of previous projections.

Speaking at the Auto Expo 2023 in New Delhi last week, VW Group’s India head Gurpratap Boparai revealed that thanks to the Indian government’s favorable policies, VW will accelerate its EV manufacturing plans in the country.

“India has become the lead market for EVs for the VW Group globally,” Boparai said. He also credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India an EV hub.

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VW had previously planned to begin EV manufacturing in India closer to 2030. But surging demand for EVs and upcoming tighter emissions regulations have forced a rethink.

“We will localize electric cars based on the MEB platform faster than planned earlier. The first locally produced EV could hit the Indian roads in two to three years,” Boparai stated.

The MEB platform refers to VW’s dedicated battery-electric vehicle architecture. VW EVs across segments, including compact cars, SUVs, sedans, and even a microbus, will be introduced in India using localized MEB components.

Boparai also hinted that Skoda, another VW Group brand enjoying strong sales momentum in India, is likely to launch its EVs here before VW.

VW’s accelerated ‘India-first’ EV push reflects the company’s growing focus on India’s large auto market. It also underscores the success of India’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.

The Indian government is investing over $3 billion in FAME and other clean mobility programs. Low taxes, subsidies, and proposals like battery swapping infrastructure are attracting global automakers keen to tap into the rapid EV growth expected this decade.

“India is set to become one of the top three global markets in EVs,” stated industry expert Puneet Gupta from S&P Global Mobility. According to analyst firm Mordor Intelligence, Indian EV sales could surpass 11 million units by 2030.

Source – NewsBytes

VW rival Tesla is also gearing up to produce its first ‘Made in India’ Model 3 EVs by the end of 2023 at its new Bangalore Gigafactory. But VW’s track record and understanding of Indian buyers could give it an edge over the American EV pioneer in this price-sensitive market.

Also Read – Tesla Looks Beyond EV Enthusiasts After Hitting New Sales Records in 2023

VW’s expected entry could significantly expand the EV options available for Indian customers. VW’s large portfolio of hatchbacks, sedans, and SUV EVs at varied price points will appeal to a wide range of buyers.

For India’s fast-growing middle class, VW’s upcoming sub-4 meter cars and SUVs are likely to become serious alternatives to small petrol vehicles that currently dominate sales.

More affordable VW EVs catering to urban buyers could also give established players like Tata Motors a run for their money. VW’s popular brands and German engineering lineage are strong selling points.

Meanwhile, the Group’s targeted approach for India across brands like VW, Skoda, Audi, and even Porsche lines up well with its global ‘New Auto’ EV strategy.

Building its EVs locally will allow VW to make India both a major manufacturing hub and a sales destination for its electric portfolio. Leveraging India’s frugal engineering capabilities can help lower production costs too.

The Minister of Heavy Industries Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey hailed VW’s announcement as a vote of confidence in India’s EV vision. He expects it to spur more jobs in manufacturing, innovation, and infrastructure.

VW has been in India since 2001 but has struggled to expand sales beyond niche offerings. Its EV turnaround plan could be the breakthrough it needs to finally go more mainstream.

For Indian customers, automakers, and policymakers, VW’s accelerated EV plans point to exciting times ahead. India’s EV promise seems closer than ever to materializing on the road.

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