arteon to be launched in the mideast in 2017
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

Andrew Savvas, brand director

Arteon to be launched in the Mideast in 2017

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Arteon to be launched in the Mideast in 2017

An electric Golf GTE for the Arabian Gulf region.
London - Arab Today

Despite several challenges in the region including high discount rates, Andrew Savvas, brand director, Volkswagen Middle East, is optimistic about the performance of his company in 2017 because of the “powerful new products” and improved customer service his company has to offer. One of the new products is Arteon, which will be launched in the Middle East in the autumn of 2017.
“Electric cars are (also) coming to the region,” he told Arab News. He said that his company is currently testing an electric Golf GTE for the Arabian Gulf region.
He believes that buyers of VW cars get the best of both worlds: German engineering at Japanese and Korean prices. Golf is a best seller in the region forming a quarter of total VW sales.
Following are excerpts from the interview:
How was Volkswagen’s performance in the Middle East during 2016? And what are the prospects for 2017?
Due to market conditions, 2016 was a challenging sales year for our brand in a market known for high discount rates. However, from a consumer’s perspective 2016 was a good time to purchase a new car.
Despite market challenges we did make positive strides in our product line-up with the launch of the new Passat in the first quarter.
In the second quarter of 2016, we launched the Golf GTI Clubsport. Finally, we finished the year with the launch of the Tiguan, which proved to be a huge success. We are, therefore, very optimistic about sales during 2017.
Furthermore, 2016 was a positive year for our dealer partners, as they continue to improve their customer satisfaction scores across the region. Our customers are getting great deals on high-quality German vehicles with better customer service.
We are focused on making positive strides ahead with powerful new products and by improving our customer services with a focus on digitalization.
What new models does Volkswagen intend to offer in the region during 2017?
The Tiguan will have its first full year in the Middle East in 2017 and for us the model has already proved to be a big success. The updated Golf will arrive this summer with more technology and more power, while the all-new Arteon, recently unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show, will arrive in the autumn with a classic sports car design, and the elegance and space of a fastback. This summer, we will launch a special edition of the Touareg with bespoke trims, featuring additional value that will directly benefit our customers. The year 2017 is going to be a busy product year for Volkswagen in the region.
How ready is the region for alternative powertrains such as hybrid and electric vehicles?
Electric vehicles are coming. The readiness of the region will be determined by consumer demand and it will be determined by eliminating the obstacles preventing purchase of electric vehicles. Those obstacles include driving range, ability to rapidly charge a vehicle on a long route, entry-level price point, charging point infrastructure and the cost of fuel.
The UAE and Jordan are leading the way in this regard. The UAE has planned approximately 100 charging points across the country, while Jordan has exempted electric models from registration fees, customs duties and sales taxes, and invested in charging facilities at petrol stations across the kingdom.
I have no doubt that the obstacles preventing the growth of electric vehicles in the region will be eliminated in due course. At Volkswagen, we are testing Golf GTE models for the region. However, we are not ready to offer these models yet. It is our goal to become a global leader in e-mobility by selling 1 million electric vehicles by 2025.
What is your most popular model in the region and why do consumers in the region prefer it?
The Golf model range is our biggest driver of sales, representing 25 percent of our sales volume in 2016. The Golf has established itself as an iconic people’s car, decades of German engineering has seen every generation of Golf set benchmarks in pure driving pleasure and ownership experience.
However, we offer products across a wide variety of segments and our customers look to Volkswagen for German engineering.
Does being the largest automotive group in the world put extra pressure on the company to perform and preserve that position?
Our objective is to be a profitable, competitive, high-volume manufacturer with a commitment to premium quality. Volkswagen has embarked on the TRANSFORM 2025+ program, which will set a new course for the brand. One area of importance in the region is a clearer brand positioning. This means launching of more products in the region such as our new seven-seater SUV in 2018, the Atlas. The gesture control technology will also be available in the upcoming version of Golf.
In general, what distinguishes VW vehicles from others and why should consumers choose them?
Our products feature technology not found in competitor models within the volume segment. As a direct result of the Volkswagen’s wide portfolio of sports cars, luxury, premium and volume models, the Volkswagen brand is able to develop technology and safety features that ultimately benefit our customers. The Volkswagen brand is premium in the volume segment — which means that we offer technology found in premium models, but at a price that is comparable with Japanese and Korean brands. Our customers get more for their money, be it safety, material or horsepower.

Source: Arab News

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