Skoda India is going through a transition phase at the moment from its current status to Volkswagen Skoda Group India. Under this initiative, the first product to be launched will be the Kushaq, the official unveil of which is just a couple of days away. The India 2.0 strategy from the brand will include India-specific and heavily localized products keeping in mind the cost-conscious mindset of customers in the country. Due to high levels of localization, the costs are expected to be competitive against the very successful rivals in the segment. Skoda and VW are finally concentrating more on mass-volume products which will have the value for money characteristics rather than offering premium products in every segment. This is also the best way going forward because the sales of both these brands have not been anything to get excited about. February continued to be disappointing for Skoda. Let us take a look at the sales and future prospects of the Skoda VW brand.
Skoda degrows by 32%
The YoY growth in sales for Skoda India has seen a decline of 32%, which is fairly substantial considering almost all the other carmakers have reported massive positive sales. The entire industry grew by over 23% in February, compared to the same month a year ago. In February this year, Skoda reported sales of a mere 853 units in comparison to 1,259 units last year. The fact that the carmaker didn’t even hit the 1,000 unit mark is disappointing. To counter that, the future plans of Skoda are quite comprehensive.
Skoda Rapid CNG
To start off, Skoda might be considering diversifying its portfolio in the country by being just the third car manufacturer (after Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai) to offer factory-fitted CNG kits on the Rapid sedan. Zac Hollis, the Director of Sales and Marketing hinted at launching the CNG version of the Rapid. This could potentially influence the sales positively with fuel (petrol & diesel) prices soaring at the moment. The CNG variant will definitely be a relief for the customers from the astronomical fuel prices which are likely to keep increasing in the times to come. Under the hood, the Rapid will continue to come with a 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine, which will make a little less power in this variant compared to the regular variant (108 hp and 175 Nm). It will still come with either a 6-speed manual or a torque converter unit.
The main offering from the brand will, by far, be the Creta-rivalling mid-size SUV, the Kushaq. Interestingly enough, the unveiling of the Kushaq is a mere couple of days away and it will make the segment very competitive indeed. The bold and muscular design, as seen in the official sketches and at the Auto Expo 2020, will surely be unique to Skoda and quality interiors, modern tech and safety features will make the Skoda Kushaq, an attractive offering for sure. There will be two TSI engines on offer (1.0-litre and 1.5-litre). Owing to heavy localization levels, the prices are also expected to be around the Creta and Seltos.
Another relatively popular offering from the Czech carmaker will make a comeback in an all-new avatar. The new Octavia will carry forward the sort of cult following it had, back in the day. Expected to launch this year itself, the Octavia will come with a powerful 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine churning out 190hp and 320Nm with the trademark DSG transmission. Being a premium offering, the Octavia is bound to come with all the bells and whistles, including all the modern tech, safety and convenience features with high-quality cabin material.
These are the few new products that Skoda plans to launch in the country. The India 2.0 strategy will be the second innings of the brand in India and both VW and Skoda are betting big on these next launches, which might well define their future in our competitive and complex market.