VW group rejigs management in India; Gurpratap Boparai to take charge as MD from January

German auto major Volkswagen Group Tuesday announced management restructuring in India, as part of its plan to “sustainably strengthen its position”, spearheaded by group firm ŠKODA. As part of the exercise, ŠKODA AUTO India Managing Director (MD) Gurpratap Boparai will become MD of the Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd (VWIPL) with effect from January 1, 2019, the group said in a statement.

“In the future, all group brands will continue their operations under the leadership of Gurpratap Boparai with a common strategy in the Indian market,” it said.

The restructuring of the Volkswagen Group companies in India is planned for next year, subject to regulatory approvals, the statement added.

In July this year, the group had announced EUR 1-billion investment in India to support its ‘India 2.0’ project, which will be driven by ŠKODA AUTO.

The group had announced that all future models designed and produced in India would be based on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, and ŠKODA AUTO will launch a volume segment model based on sub-compact MQB A0 platform by 2020.

The group will launch a new SUV based on VW’s flexible MQB platform by the second half of 2020.

ŠKODA AUTO would set up an engineering design and development centre at Pune besides enhancing capacities at the group’s two plants in Aurangabad and Pune cities of Maharashtra.

“The Volkswagen Group in India is restructuring its management in order to use the existing synergies more efficiently in the development of this important growth market,” the statement said.

From January 1, 2019, the group said Pavel Richter, technical director of production in the ‘India 2.0’ project, will lead production responsibility for the group in India.

“As part of the restructuring, Andreas Lauermann will be moving to the Volkswagen Group by end of the year to take on new responsibilities,” it added.

Commenting on the management rejig in India, ŠKODA AUTO Chief Executive Officer Bernhard Maier said, “India is an important and attractive growth market for us. Our goal is clear: In this highly competitive environment, we aim for a combined Volkswagen and ŠKODA market share of up to 5 per cent by 2025.”

He further said, “Based on the MQB A0-IN platform from 2020, we will be offering the right models to unlock the Indian market’s potential.”

With the introduction of the new management structure, Boparai said, “We are laying the foundations both for the joint implementation of ‘India 2.0’ and for achieving our goals in India.