Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Skoda Rapid sedan will be launched in Europe and China during 2012-13, but before that the car will be on the Indian roads on the 16th of November 2011. The Skoda Auto maker is looking to cement it its position in India. Dr H.C. Winfried Vahland, Chairman of the Board of Management revealed about their massive plans in developing economies like India and also added that China and Russia would also be their top priority. Currently about sixty percent of the annual sales for the company comes from Europe and they expect it to fall about twenty percent by 2018 as the developing economies begin to show their mettle. In fact the plan of focusing on India is a part of Skoda’s larger ambition of achieving the target of selling 1.5 million cars by 2018.
In the current 2011 year Skoda has sold around eight lakh cars worldwide and is well aware of the intentions of Volkswagen who are on the herculean ambition of becoming the world’s biggest automaker by 2018. Skoda is highly confident of their plans of sticking to India and China where they expect to have a long over haul and is also having a keen eye on the Brazilian market.
The company is planning to flood the market with the launch of a car once in every half year. The production of the car has already begun at the Chakan factory in Pune. The entry level sedan will start making its appearance on the Indian terrain with a price range of Rs. 5.5-7 lakh in the Indian car market. In fact the same factory produces both the Skoda and VW cars that are born out of the same platform like the Polo and Skoda Fabia. The sedan variants like the Vento and the Rapid also share the same factory. The high end Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda variants are produced at their ‘variety plant’ in Aurangabad.
The Skoda Rapid sedan will have a slightly delayed release in the Europe and the China markets around the 2012-13 period. The Rapid has the same Volkswagen Vento platform and will be quite cheaper keeping in line with the market positioning and the current economic slowdown.
Mr. Jurgen Stackmann, the Member of the Board of Management (Sales and Marketing) stated that the Skoda Rapid is a big step in the automakers quest to building a bigger brand in India. It is the small and compact car segment that Skoda will focus on in India, and the Rapid in the upper compact segment sets them off.
Also in the pipeline is the compact Skoda Citigo which was show cased at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. However, there is no official confirmation regarding the launch of the car in the Indian car market. As of now it looks like the Volkswagen Up! will be the first one to make it to the Indian car market first and the Skoda Citigo will land in India after its initial tryst with the Europe markets and could come to India later in 2012.