Skoda plans ‘big’ in India…literally
The company's next big bet would come from its second small car that is being developed, slated to hit the roads in three years. Sumant Banerji reports.Updated: May 18, 2008 21:18 IST
Buoyed by the success of its latest product the premium hatch Fabia, Czech auto major Skoda Auto India is planning big. Coming up: a slew of models across a wide cross section of segments -- a Rs 3-5 lakh small car, a multi purpose vehicle (MUV), an estate version of the Fabia and sports utility vehicle (SUV).
The company's next big bet would come from its second small car that is being developed, slated to hit the roads in three years. This car will be powered by 1.2 litre petrol and diesel engines similar to the ones riding on the Fabia but with significantly higher fuel economy.
"Our focus is squarely in India, and we are developing a car for emerging markets that will be priced lower than the Fabia at around Rs 3-5 lakh,” said Board of Directors Member (Sales and Marketing)SkodaIndia Thomas Kuehl. "This car would be launched here in the next three to five years."
After the launch of this car, the company will be represented in all important segments in the industry and by 2012, "our sales target is 100,000 units per annum," he added. For this calendar year the company has set a target of 25,000 units with Fabia family accounting for 10,000 units.
"Currently we expect the newly launched 1.2 litre version of the Fabia to give us the boost but going forward there will be many exciting products from our side that will keep boosting our prospects," Kuehl said. "We are planning at least one major launch every year and while we have already done our bit this year with the Fabia you can also expect a multi purpose vehicle – Roomster — by the end of this year.
The Roomster will be produced in India in the C segment and attract a price tag of Rs 8-10 lakh. This would pitch it against existing segment leader Toyota Innova, Chevrolet Tavera and Tata Grande Sumo.
Globally the car comes with a wide variety of engines including multivalve 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6 litre petrol engines and three cylinder 1.4 litre and four cylinder 1.9 litre diesel engines. In India the top of the line 1.9 litre TDI engine that belts out 105 bhp may power the vehicle.
Along with Roomster, the sedan version of Fabia – Fabia Combi -- is also likely to be introduced. The Combi will share the same 1.9 litre TDI engine with the Roomster. With the market still uncharted, Combi could enjoy the same first mover advantage as the Fabia.
The company will also launch a sports utility vehicle in the next two to four years that will be a localised version of its concept car Yeti that was showcased in the New Delhi Auto Expo two years ago. Unlike most SUVs in the country today that are either completely or partly imported, Yeti will be fully manufactured in India.
"Our policy is not to import any vehicle in the country but launch only those vehicles that have reasonable prospects and numbers to support production here. Yeti will also be produced and not imported in India," Kuehl said.