Locally-built Tiguan goes on sale in Russia today
Sales initiative powers ahead – 17 additional retailers in 2008 plus new retail training centre
Russian customers can now also purchase the Tiguan, which, like the Passat and Jetta, is produced at the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga. “The decision to build the Tiguan locally is an indication of the strategic importance of the Russian market for the Volkswagen brand,” Frank Wittemann, Head of the Volkswagen brand in Russia, said.
Two model versions of the Tiguan – the Track & Field and the Sport & Style – will be available at market launch, giving buyers a choice between an off-road and a city vehicle. Both versions will come with a 1.4 TSI (150 PS) entry-level engine and at a price tag of 904,000 ruble. The top model, the Tiguan 2.0 TSI (170 PS), will be available for 1,053,550 ruble.
“For our customers the production of the Tiguan in Russia means shorter delivery times, same-quality standards and a very attractive price,” Wittemann said. Delivery figures for the Passat produced in Russia already prove the success of locally-built Volkswagen products. A total of 6,047 vehicles were delivered in the first six months of 2008, representing a 37 percent increase compared with the same period in the previous year.
At the same time as the product range in Kaluga is being expanded, the dealer network is also being systematically established and extended. “It is our goal to expand our network from the present 63 active retailers to about 120 over the long term,” Wittemann explained. “We will not only be focusing on achieving a good level of representation in urban centers such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, but we will also be reviewing possible locations in other regions of the country. This year will add another 17 retailers in total to our network.”
The recently opened Volkswagen retail training centre in Moscow plays an important role in the company’s sales initiative. The “Group Academy”, the biggest training centre in the Russian automotive industry, provides training for employees from all the Group brands active on the Russian market: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Audi and Skoda. The premises (3,000 square meters in size) accommodate 24 different training classes headed by 21 trainers. 2,500 days of training, or 160 people per day, have been scheduled for this year. The curriculum includes instruction in subject areas such as technology and vehicle repair, new models, communications and management. The centre will provide training for the entire dealer workforce: managers, sales and service staff, sales managers, customer service assistants, mechanics, spare parts specialists and service office assistants. The main focus of the training, around 60 percent, is on practical exercises. “This top training for dealers means customers will receive not only top-quality automobiles, but excellent sales and service assistance as well,” Wittemann commented.