"Our cars are fantastic in terms of safety": Volkswagen India's Abbey Thomas

"Our cars are fantastic in terms of safety": Volkswagen India's Abbey Thomas

The campaign is conceptualised by the DDB Mudra Group.


Mumbai: Volkswagen India has rolled out its new brand communication ‘You’re in a Volkswagen’ on 23 August 2023, that captures the true emotion of owning a car.

The new brand communication captures a 360° perspective emphasising what it means to drive a Volkswagen. Conceptualised by the DDB Mudra Group, the new consumer-friendly campaign takes a brand-first approach to build a robust emotional equity in the automobile market.

The brand has a strong portfolio of German-engineered cars: Virtus, Taigun & Tiguan. In tandem with the India 2.0 strategy, Volkswagen cars are bigger, bolder & better. Taigun and Virtus have owned the safety narrative on Indian roads - with both scoring the five stars for adult and child occupant safety on the GNCAP safety tests. Armed with this strong portfolio, Volkswagen India is creating a larger network and bringing the Volkswagen experience closer to customers.

In a belief to deliver on the promise constantly, Indiantelevision.com caught up with Volkswagen India's marketing head Abbey Thomas, who elaborated the campaign in detail and shared interesting insights on their current market share and much more…

Edited excerpts

On the brief overview of this brand campaign

This campaign story that we put together is our overall journey, from the year 2009 and until now, as to what has changed, or the markets have changed, how our communication has changed, how we have reached out to the market, as compared to the earlier years. So if I look at the story from today, it's about a new journey ahead. So in 2020, we introduced India 2.0 which had the new introduction 'driving under waters'. There is also a time when we actually change the the brand design, so it went into an India 2.0 brand design. The 2.0 brand design basically gets a lot of vibrancy back and brand. If you look at the touch points across the country, we are network sales touchpoints. As such points are communication, we were much more vibrant, much more younger, much more youthful, with a lot of attitude back into the brand, it is not just an engineering product, it's not just an engineered product, it's purely in terms of also getting the lifestyle back into the brand, which was very important for us to establish. What we have done today, from the year 2023 onwards is now take it to the next level, we would retain the vibrancy, we would retain the attitude, but we will make it much more real, you know, we will make our campaigns our communication and messaging much more real, touching the heart lines and the cords of people across the country. And that can be done by building a story around real India. The story is about you and me. It's not just about celebrities or influencers or anybody else. It's about us that we bind to our cause and that is what our new journey is all about. When we say you are in the Volkswagen, we are selling you and we are communicating to you what we stand for. We want you to know that when you buy into us, you would be really buying into the values of what we have set ourselves for in the last 15 years or 13 years in this country. These values are pretty strong values that we've held on to for many, many years. Be it built quality, be it safety, these elements that we're very, very proud of. So our engines performed beautifully. Well our engines are resized engines, no longer the huge big engines, but we have nice frugal engines, which really delivers great efficiency.

On the current market share of Volkswagen in India and the increase in car sales post COVID

Overall the industry is doing very well. We have gone back into pre COVID levels, the industry has bounced back, everybody is selling more cars. We are a very small player in this market. We were approximately one per cent of the market share, today we are inching towards a two per cent market share. Hopefully in the coming years, we should be looking at at least three per cent market share to increase the base in our country. So we are not really going there to sell 40 per cent market share or 10 per cent. That's not the kind of thought that we have. We want to inch closer because we play in a segment that is slightly more on the premium side. It's slightly about the mass segment and we call us on top of what the mass segment is called as a volume segment and we are slightly placed about the top of volume. That means we built our cars, not to reduce cost, but to ensure highest levels of safety, highest levels of product quality and durability onto your cars, so that you can retain your cars not less than three years, you can retain it for five years and to eight years more and this car will do absolutely well. So it's also the total cost of ownership of this car over a longer period of time.

On ensuring customer and vehicle safety owing to the tough conditions the monsoon season brings

Our cars are fantastic in terms of safety. Yes, there are brands which has achieved the same, but on the safety ratings as far as the crash test is concerned the GNCAP rating, (which stands for global NCAP rating), we are a five star rated product, both in terms of front occupants and also the rear occupants. So once you have a seatbelt on, you are as safe as you can be ever in an automobile, anywhere in the world. So I think that's something we are very, very proud about. And we have stories we don't want to send out sad stories, but we want to send out stories of people who've got a second lease of life and put them into our cars. And even if they had an accident, they walked out without a scratch. I think that's something that we are very proud about.

On consumers excited in buying sedans or small cars

The there was a time when small hatchbacks used to be the story, but yes, today people have graduated more and they have gone into buying bigger cars so A-0 SUV segment and the A-0 sedan segment are really popular and extremely powerful in that space and therefore I believe that these are the two growth segments in this country.