First product based on Skoda’s affordable platform could go on sale in 2021; volume-based segments targetted with small cars
Skoda is planning a major assault in the Indian market and preparing to roll out more than three lakh cars annually as a first significant step. The Czech Republican automaker’s CEO Bernhard Maier sees huge potential in the vast domestic space that will witness three new global brands – Kia, MG and PSA – debuting in the next three years.
As reported already, Skoda is creating an indigenous architecture for Volkswagen. The platform will be cost effective enabling new cars to be introduced with affordable pricing compared to some of their competitors. Skoda expects to sell vehicles based on the new platform right from 2021 and is tipped to be responsible for VW Group aiming a market share of 5 percent in the near future.
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Skoda aims at the holy grail of the Indian automotive market, which are entry-level segments, by developing smaller cars compared to its existing portfolio and thereby able to rival volume-based models from Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. It had been earlier reported that the company’s US entry was pushed further back as it concentrates all its resources on India.
While acknowledging the tight competition, Skoda is also wary of the fact that the tie-ups with Suzuki in 2015 and most recently Tata Motors failed to materialise and it is the right time to get back in the fray with new technologies and strategies. With upcoming stringent emission compliance getting on par with European standards, Skoda seems to be pro-actively making moves.
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With India’s annual car production projected to hit six million units next decade, it is on the right path to become the third largest auto market in the world by 2020. As Maruti Suzuki’s unassailable dominance with nearly 50 percent market share proves the ever-lasting affinity for small cars, Skoda and VW are pursuing the same route to counteract the biggest car seller in the country.
Skoda’s CEO further stated that it would be difficult to meet the $5,000 (Rs. 3.25 lakh approximately) price point per car due to the future emission and safety norms in developing markets like India. Amidst investing a record $2.46 billion in EV expansion and self-driving technologies to address its global range, Skoda appears to be contenting with conventional power units for India.
While not undermining the hybrid powertrain technologies, he added that diesel engines still have a worthy future interestingly despite the emission cheating scandal that vehemently hit the Volkswagen Group. Besides India, Skoda plans to double its sales figures in China by 2020 and will be introducing two new SUVs.