THREE words define Volkswagen PH’s future. Vibrant, electric, and energetic.
At the recent media roundtable, VW PH President Felipe Estrella III expressed his enthusiasm for this future direction as he announced the coming of the VW T-Cross, two to three more new models, and the electrified vehicles which he says “should come sooner, than later.”
The T-Cross, a sub-compact sports utility vehicle is produced in Brazil, China, and Germany. It is a global model that was initially presented in 2018 and has been launched simultaneously in markets in Europe, South America, and Asia. It has sold over 300,000 units since and will available in the Philippines by the second quarter of 2021.
“We are excited at bringing in the T-Cross as it will compete in the lucrative compact SUV segment that is growing worldwide…this is a car—a vehicle that the Philippines team have worked hard to secure and to bring to the country…if things materialize as planned, we hope to bring in another model in the third quarter and possibly a fourth one in the last quarter,” Estrella said.
The exact specifications for the PH T-Cross version has not been released but the global specifications chart show gasoline propelled engines all with turbocharged stratified injected (TSI) technology with engine sizes that vary from 1.0-liter to 1.5 liters, 1.5-liter MPI, 1.6-liter MSI and a sole 1.6 L TDI diesel. Available transmissions are a 5- and 6-speed manual, a 6-speed conventional automatic and a 7-speed DSG.
Its dimensions at 2,551 mm (100.4 in) 2,650 mm (104.3 in) put it squarely in the compact sports utility segment. The T-Cross was set to be introduced in early 2020 to the Philippines but the pandemic halted this plan.
The global VW market has 2 electrified vehicles, the e-Up! and the e-Golf currently available in other countries. This year VW’s Zero-emission plans will see an entirely new generation of full electric vehicles under the “I.D.” family. These new EVs will use VW’s new Modular electric drive matrix (MEB) meaning it will have range comparable with current petrol models full tank of fuel.
The zero-emission powertrain consists mainly of up to 2 electric motors (front only, rear only or both), a sophisticated power electronics system to control the high-voltage energy flow between electric motor and battery, a transmission, and a flat high-voltage battery installed in a space-saving configuration in the floorpan.
The first models under the I.D. line will be the I.D. Compact and the I.D. CROZZ SUV. Another vehicle, the I.D. BUZZ van, which curiously looks like the iconic Kombi is to be launched in 2022. It is not sure which of these models will be introduced to the Philippines but Estrella stressed that the brand is looking at the ones most suitable and available.
“It is part of the global brand strategy of Volkswagen, which now symbolizes the flexibility, versatility, and the “digital-first” quality of the brand,” Estrella added referring to electric vehicles in the line-up, also stressing how “only a Volkswagen can build a Volkswagen.”
Responding to two questions about VW’s model line-up and the relative success of the brand in terms of volume sales, Estrella said that VW PH is bringing in more in terms of “value products” using their current sourcing strategy. The company imports most of its inventory from China now, whereas vehicles such as the Polo and the Beetle came from Europe which cost more.
Estrella called this “friction cost”–additional cost when importing from specific markets due to trade agreements and other logistical requirements. Reducing the high “cost friction” meant preferring the 10 percent duties when imported from China rather than 30 percent when sourced elsewhere. VW has several manufacturing plants across the world some of its biggest are in China and India. See related story here.
The VW president candidly said that in the process of reducing friction cost, the company’s product planners are also ensuring the features of the vehicles are appropriate for the market and for the price range.
“I hope everyone realizes that this friction cost has no impact whatsoever in the type of products you brought in,” Estrella stressed.
VW GLOBAL STANDARDS
“In the VW world, regardless of the source, the product is the same,” Estrella said adding that products are built with same standards and same quality wherever they may be produced. VW models made anywhere—China, Brazil or Germany—fall under the same global standard for design and engineering and must pass its high tolerance for quality and safety “in order to ensure that the badge speaks of the unmistakable Volkswagen quality.”
The VW PH president also highlighted the service and parts campaign “Keep your Volkswagen running like a Volkswagen” that aims to provide the optimum enjoyment and convenience of owning a VW.
It enables improved aftersales services on all fronts, such as limiting PMS to just once a year which leads to 20 percent less cost of ownership compared to its competitors; 3-month stock on parts; enhancements in service quality via Express Service, free 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance (ERA), and employing technicians trained by globally certified trainers back by on-site and virtual diagnostic technical support.