Swedish car manufacturer Volvo released a statement on Wednesday that it plans to manufacture electric vehicles in India. The carmaker which is probably best known for its buses, that disrupted the road travel experience in a big way, will hope that it can finally transition to smaller vehicles too. But it won’t be easy, what with the firm barely having any offerings in the mass or even sedan segment.
The company wants to take the leap and introduce green technologies and greener travel in India, with plans to pitch ideas for government benefits and incentives towards cleaner cars. They hope to ride the governments focus on electric vehicles and cleaner solutions through early ideas that make a wider impact on the market, while establishing a stronghold on the nascent industry.
Charles Frump, MD for Volvo Cars India, said, “We are committed to the ‘Make in India’ programme, and of course we will look at increased assembly (of cars) in India. It’s only matter of time.”
The company, which sold little over 2,000 cars last year, has started assembling cars in India at their Bengaluru plant which also produces their trucks and buses. They recently introduced their SUV XC40, priced at Rs 39.9 lakhs and plan to locally produce the car at their Bengaluru, to begin with over the next few months, and hope that it will compete with models such as BMW’s X1, Mercedes GLA and Audi’s Q3. The company has plans to increase the number of models that it assembles in India, especially as it helps avoid the steep import and other duties that can go up to 180%.
Frump said, to begin with, the company will start assembling plug-in hybrids in India. “While we are assembling the XC90 in India, the hybrid version is still being imported. We plan to assemble that as well.” Volvo has given global guidance to migrate and electrify its entire line-up beginning 2019, and will be unveiling an all-electric vehicle next year. Frump said the Indian subsidiary will also look at introducing the pure-electric vehicle, once it’s launched globally.
Globally, Volvo Cars has recently also announced a target of selling one million electrified cars by 2025 with 50 per cent of its sales volume to come from fully electric vehicles by 2025. “If you think we are selling only 6,00,000 cars (globally) this year and by 2025 we are targeting one million electrified cars. It has to include India,” Frump said.
“Our aim is to be the first automotive producer in India to locally produce a plug-in hybrid and we are going to do it next year,” he added.