Volkswagen looking at reasons for fall in India sales

GURGAON, Apr 25: Concerned with its sales hitting a roadblock since the beginning of this year in India, German auto major Volkswagen today said it is taking stock of the situation as it looks to increase customer satisfaction.

“This year, we are trying to consolidate and sit and see if we are doing all the things right. We have to see if we are having qualitative sales,” Volkswagen Group Sales India member of board Neeraj Garg told reporters here.

In January this year, the company’s sales stood at 5,789 units, up 3.38 per cent from the same month last year. While in February, sales were down 7.77 per cent at 6,529 units, in March they grew by 2.85 per cent to 8,326 units.

The company, however, posted an overall growth of 51.68 per cent at 78,281 units in the fiscal 2011-12.

“We cannot grow at the same pace. Last year we grew at a very high rate. Now it is about maintaining that level,” Garg said.

Asked what are the areas of concern that the company is looking to address, he said: “Having good after-sales service … Customer expectations are increasing gradually. It is about managing customer expectations.”

Admitting that a lot more can be done to please the customers, he said: “Nobody in the industry has been able to meet 100 per cent of the customer expectations. There is definitely a gap in the industry. If somebody is happy, then somebody is unhappy.”

The company that currently has 103 dealers in 84 cities added another one here today.

On whether the company is looking to bring vehicles with alternate fuel technology, he said: “We will have to think about CNG variants. It will be a part of our discussions internally.”

He, however, did not specify a timeframe for launching such alternate fuel products saying, “It is just the beginning of a thought process. We cannot say right now whether we will go for it or we will not go.”

Garg said currently CNG models contribute only 2 per cent of the passenger car market and is available only in Delhi, Mumbai and Gujarat.

The Indian car market stood at 20.16 lakh units in 2011- 12, as per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Volkswagen currently sales models, including Polo, Vento, Jetta and Passat in India. Its manufacturing plant at Chakan in Maharashtra has a capacity to produce 1.3 lakh units per annum. (PTI)