The India 2.0 Programme: A conversation with Ashish Gupta, Brand Director, Volkswagen India

By Team Autostory
August 24, 2022, Updated on : Wed Aug 24 2022 17:21:04 GMT+0000
Volkswagen India’s Brand Director Ashish Gupta confirmed that for the next two years, the carmaker will only focus on its current lineup of cars consisting of Taigun, Virtus and Tiguan
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Volkswagen, along with its sister brand Skoda, started its second innings in the Indian market with the new India-specific MQB A0 IN architecture that was showcased at Auto Expo 2020. This platform was designed to underpin the brand’s new locally developed models like the Taigun crossover and the Virtus sedan.


We recently had the opportunity to interact with Volkswagen India’s Brand Director, Ashish Gupta, and were able to gain some insights about the company’s India 2.0 programme, the end of its iconic Polo in the country, future models, the company’s EV (electric vehicle) plans, and more.

Reception for India 2.0 & future models

The ambitious India 2.0 programme has yielded positive results as the German brand has been able to sell a total volume of 21,588 units in the first half of 2022. In comparison, VW was able to dispatch only 10,843 units during the same period last year, a YoY growth of 100 percent.


On being questioned about the expansion of the lineup, Ashish conceded that India 2.0 project was always about bringing two new products in the form of Taigun and Virtus. However, he stressed that MQB A0 IN is a modular platform and can accommodate various wheelbases and body styles, therefore, VW will continue to explore more options in the near future.

VW Taigun and Virtus

The Volkswagen Taigun and Virtus


Having said that any future models in the VW lineup would have to make a business case for the brand. Gupta said, “Any product which is launched in the market has to be profitable for the manufacturer, otherwise there is no reason to be in that segment if it’s not profitable.”

Gap in the hatchback space

It was an emotional moment for many auto enthusiasts in India when VW decided to pull the plug on Polo this year. The iconic hatchback became a runaway success when it was launched in the country in 2010. Although the car maintained its old-school charm throughout its tenure, it had started to feel dated towards the end of its cycle since it was offered minimal updates.

VW Polo

The Last Volkswagen Polo - Legend Edition

When asked if VW is planning to return to the hatchback space anytime soon, Ashish said that the brand isn’t looking to return to this space at least for the next two years. The international-spec Polo won’t be coming to India as that car wouldn’t satisfy the sub-4 meter tax benefits here.

Future mobility

With cleaner emissions in focus for the last few years, electric vehicles (EVs) have become the taking point for the global auto industry. VW has previously outlined plans to invest approximately 40 billion euros in the development of EVs.


Ashish affirmed that the transition to cleaner emissions will happen at different speeds across different parts of the world. While electrification is the next big thing in the automotive world, he was quick to point out the realities of the Indian market.


He was quoted as saying, “EVs constituted 0.5% of the Indian market last year, but the good thing is that it continues to double every year. We foresee that by 2025-26 this figure will be 5-8%. This is the inflection point where mass electrification of vehicles could take place in India. Hence, we are developing plans in line with that.”

Revision in safety norms

Safety has been an Achilles heel for the Indian car market for decades. According to a recent mandate from the Ministry of Road and Transport, all cars with capacities of up to eight people will have to feature at least six airbags as standard from October 2022. This mandate has been opposed by a few car brands as an increase in the number of airbags will push the cost of a car quite high which may adversely impact the small car segment.

VW Safety - Airbags

Volkswagen Safety

In this regard, Ashish said, “I am proud to say that VW has always taken the leadership in safety. We were the first ones to make two airbags as standard in Polo. We are known for making safe cars world over which is our fundamental DNA. That’s why you will not see us speaking too much about safety because that is a given for us and not a compromise.”


He further affirmed that the government’s initiative is in the right direction. At the same time, he pointed out that enhancement in safety must not be limited to the number of airbags but the overall improvement in design and structural integrity of the car.


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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