Though automobile manufacturers say migrating to stringent BS-VI fuel emission norms by April 2020 is a challenging task, Skoda is one company that is welcoming the change. Werner Eichorn, board member, sales and marketing, Skoda Auto, says the new regulations will give them a huge opportunity for growth. Excerpts:
Superb has been launched in India, but the volume for the segment is small. What is your outlook for this car?
The Superb plays a very important role for Skoda worldwide, because with this car, we enter a new era in terms of brand development and attracting new customers. This is the car with which we have introduced our new design language. This car underlines what our brand stands for, which is ‘value ‘luxury.’ It’s true the segment the Superb is in is very small, but we want to be very successful in this segment, and are aiming for a 50% market share in this segment.
You are going to showcase a new SUV concept at the Geneva Motor Show. Can we expect this in India?
Since this is one of the biggest-growing segments in the world, we would like to enter the SUV sector. The idea was, and is, to bring in one SUV in the short-term and in Geneva, we’ll show a vision of it. But, later this year, we will have the world premier of the additional SUV. It could be a 7-seater and the perfect family SUV. It’s quite obvious that there is a volume opportunity in the Indian market.
You’ve been in the Indian market for 16 years, but Skoda hasn’t grown and you’ve lost volumes. What’s the way forward?
Due to the environment in the past few years, we have had to consolidate our business. We have already seen growth in 2015, and this year we have plans to grow by 10 %. We talked about the opportunity to add the SUVs. Also, with growth of the market and some European standards coming in terms of emissions and safety, it gives us an opportunity that may make it possible to bring products even below the Rapid.
You are hoping tougher safety and emission regulations will level the playing field and that you would welcome Euro 6 or BSVI norms?
Yes, we would welcome these regulations because we are able to deliver it at a very high level in Europe. So, we are happy to transfer the technology to India. That would give us a huge advantage and we are prepared. If the market grows in the way we have seen over the last 12 months, and if inflation stays (low), there might be an opportunity for a viable business. Indian customers loved the Fabia for instance, so why not bring it back? Its not decided yet, but it could be a medium or long term plan to come back in the bigger volume segments of the market, which will create a higher market share for Skoda in India.
In partnership with Autocar India