Skoda has been spearheading the Volkswagen group’s ‘India 2.0’ strategy in India which primarily focuses on bringing the globally renowned MQB platform to India and restructuring the product portfolio for both the Skoda and Volkswagen brands. In a recent interview with Zigwheels, Zac Hollis, Sales & Marketing – Director, Skoda India has announced that Skoda is working on bringing in a new sedan that will replace the current Rapid in India.
Skoda has plans of bringing 2 cars in 2021 – one will be the new Kamiq SUV which is a mid-size SUV and will take on the likes of the Tata Harrier and Hyundai Creta. The other will be new sedan that replaces the Rapid. The replacement of the Rapid will be based on the MQB-A0 platform which is being developed by the Volkswagen group for emerging markets like India and Brazil.
The emission norms have also been getting stricter in the country and Mr. Hollis has also mentioned that the next-gen Skoda Rapid could be getting CNG as a fuel option as well in the short-to-medium term. While hybrids are gradually making a way into the Indian market, CNG seems to be the more viable option for now. The Indian Government has also planned to increase CNG pumps from 1,400 to 10,000 which further allows them to bank on CNG as a fuel option. The upcoming CAFE norms which will come into effect from 2022-23 to regulate the amount of CO2 emissions will also make car makers to look at alternate sources of fuel.
The new sedan could get a 3-cylinder, turbocharged, 1.0L petrol engine which can produce 110 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque. The engine will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Given the high development cost of BS-VI diesel engines, petrol is likely going to be the main stay for the Skoda brand.
A larger, 1.5L, 4-cylinder, TSI turbocharged petrol engine could also be on offer on the ntop-spec variant of the new Sedan. However, there will not be a hybrid power plant at the moment. Also, given that Skoda will focus on CNG, both the petrol engines will be CNG compatible.
The next-gen Skoda Rapid is expected to be be launched sometime in 2021. Considering the ‘India 2.0’ strategy, Skoda likely will offer class leading service and warranty packages with the new sedan. When launched, the new sedan will rival against the likes the Hyundai Verna, the Maruti Ciaz and the Honda City.