Volkswagen is making a reinvigorated push in the Indian market, with the highly anticipated Taigun. We speak with Jozef Kabaň, Head of Volkswagen Design, about designing the new SUV, and the challenges of customising it to suit the Indian market.
Which design elements of the Taigun were created exclusively for the Indian market?
You see, our first priority for any project is that it should look like an authentic Volkswagen product in terms of design, and the Taigun was no exception. But, when we looked at the Indian market, we thought that it would be helpful for the Taigun to look a little bit bigger, and therefore we used a longer wheelbase, compared to our product in Europe; we also introduced a third window in the C-pillar area to enhance the impression of its increased length. I believe that the Taigun has very mature proportions, and it looks like an SUV from a segment above. All this gives the Taigun a fantastic presence on the road. Of course, the other aspect that we discussed at length was the trim treatments for India. For example, what would be the right colours and wheels to offer with the Taigun for the Indian market? So, we did consider plenty of such smaller, but very important, aspects to make the Taigun suitable for the Indian market.
The Indian car market traditionally prefers a beige or a black interior. But, in the Taigun, the interior is in a shade of grey. What made you choose this option over the other colours?
Well, we chose the grey because we believe that it’s a good-looking shade and has youthful vibes, but, we also have a beige interior version of the Taigun, which will be offered in India. In fact, we have a couple of colour combinations that we will offer in the Taigun, and we think they will work very well in the Indian market. Additionally, we also analysed the options of introducing more colour combinations at later stages of the life cycle of a product. And as far as the colour combination of the Taigun is concerned, we believe that the grey interior gives it a young, fresh character.
The full-length taillight of the Taigun is a signature design touch of the product. What was the thought process behind such a distinctive design aspect?
You know, when we discuss the design of the taillights or even headlights of any product, our focus is always on this big dream of the Volkswagen team to make the VW badge the beginning points of all the design lines. Even in Taigun’s taillight, you can see that the VW badge is the starting point of the lines of the taillight. We believe this unique taillight design, with the VW badge at the centre, has a very distinctive character. I think lighting is a very important aspect of all cars, even the smaller ones, for it impacts a vehicle both during the day and night. And once you view the Tiguan in the night, I can assure you that its unique taillight will get you excited. Additionally, the taillight spread across the rear end also makes the Tiguan look a bit wider. As you can see, it’s built like a real SUV. But on the other hand, the design is also very well balanced. I have to say that the design of the Taigun is very mature looking, and it almost looks like its elder brother – the Tiguan.
Do you think the digitalisation of cars – like the digital instrument cluster, multimedia touchscreen, and touchscreen controls – is what designers now prefer? Or do you still think that physical controls, with their tactile feel, are better?
You know, as I see it, digitalisation is not just a trend, but a very important aspect of the realisation of future possibilities. It allows you to include an incredibly large number of features and possibilities, and therefore, it’s not just a trend. Trends usually disappear – they come and people eventually get bored. But digitalisation is something that will not disappear overnight, it’s here to stay. These modern displays offer you an incredibly huge spectrum of possibilities – you can have the information projected in a prominent way, depending on its importance, and you can even get real-time information updates. All these things will definitely continue in the future. Of course, there is always the question of finding the right balance between touchscreen controls and physical switches, and that’s what we always try to achieve based on our target customers. But, yes, we will continue with digitalisation because the world we live in is progressing incredibly quickly towards a digital future. And in my experience, India is one of the countries that are incredibly aggressive towards adopting new technologies and digitalisation. I also think that the digitalisation of automobile controls perfectly suits the mentality of Indian customers.