ŠKODA’s strategy: focussed on India
Sales increase by 15 percent to around 875,000 cars in 2011. Indian sales up 50 percent to 30,005 units in 2011. New Rapid saloon to open up largest segment in Indian market for brand.
ŠKODA is determined to continue strong growth worldwide and to improve its favourable position in India, officials of the Czech company said at New Delhi AUTO EXPO 2012.
In 2011, ŠKODA’s worldwide sales based on preliminary figures increased by 15 percent to around 875,000 vehicles, marking an all-time high. In India, ŠKODA’s sales grew to 30,005 units, up 50 percent as against the previous year. This is yet another record performance for ŠKODA on the Indian market. In aiming for additional growth in coming years, the company says its new Rapid compact saloon, introduced a few weeks ago, is to play a central role.
Under its “2018 Growth Strategy”, ŠKODA aims to increase its global sales markedly to at least 1.5 million per year. In achieving this, emerging markets in general and India in particular will be pivotal. “ŠKODA is on track for growth worldwide. In our view, the largest potential is mainly in growth markets such as India, Russia and China. Our plans are definitely focussed on the Indian market,” says ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, adding: “We are putting our gas foot down in India and are set to keep on raising our sales here.“
New Rapid plays important role in Indian growth segment
For ŠKODA, 2011 has turned out to be the most successful year in company history, with this traditional Czech brand posting growth in all regions and increasing market shares. In India, ŠKODA not only increased sales by 50 percent to 30,005 units, ŠKODA’s market share in India also grew to 1.31 percent. The company says it is determined to take full advantage of this growth trend in the Indian market.
In doing so, the company is placing great importance on its new Indian compact saloon called ŠKODA Rapid, which was introduced in late 2011. The Rapid is ŠKODA’s first foray into the Indian market’s largest segment. Production at ŠKODA’s Pune plant makes the Rapid a car built in India and for India. The car is ŠKODA’s answer to growing demand in India for spacious yet compact cars.
“We are convinced that the new Rapid corresponds well to meet the customers’ needs in India, and the car will adopt a prominent role in its segment,” says Jürgen Stackmann, ŠKODA’s board member in charge of sales and marketing. “The Rapid offers excellent value and is the perfect car especially for families,” Stackmann adds.
Rapid wins award: ‘Family car of the year’
The fact that the Rapid was chosen ‘Family car of the year’ would seem to underscore Stackmann’s comments. The car was selected for the award by respected car magazine ‘Top Gear India,’ and rightly so: the Rapid’s ample interior space, pleasant design and top-of-the-line safety features as well as cutting-edge technology all combine to make this a car a impressive example of ŠKODA “Simply Clever” brand promise taking to the road.
At 4.39 meters long, 1.70 meters wide and 1.47 meters high, the Rapid fits in between the Fabia and Laura/Octavia models. ŠKODA’s youngest automobile offspring spoils its occupants with extremely generous interior space: five full-size seats for drivers and passengers, abundant leg and headroom and a 480-litre boot volume each contribute to all five passengers travelling relaxed and in comfort. “The Rapid is a car for the whole family and for a host of purposes; it is compact enough for the city and roomy enough for longer trips. It’s an all-round talent, a real ŠKODA,” says Prof. Vahland.
Clear design, attractive power plants
Representing essential elements of ŠKODA’s new form vocabulary, the car’s clear design is convincing. The Rapid’s perfect proportions and precision, its cleanly shaped surfaces, crisp lines and distinctive presence make for a captivating personality. This is just as true of the interior: a tidy cockpit layout, easy-to-read instruments and gauges and absence of clutter all create a permanent feeling of well-being on board.
The Rapid is available with both petrol and diesel engines with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions in either case. The petrol engine produces 77 kW from 1.6 litres of displacement. The common-rail-technology turbo diesel also outputs 77 kW from 1.6 litres.
Attractive model range for Indian customers
The new Rapid is the youngest addition to the attractive model range which ŠKODA is offering on the Indian market. It currently includes ŠKODA models Fabia, Laura, Rapid, Yeti and Superb.
At the New Delhi Auto Expo 2012, for the first time in India, ŠKODA presents a concept for an especially sporty variant of the Fabia: the Fabia RS 2000. ŠKODA’s designers took the successful rally car Fabia Super 2000 and turned it into a unique roadster made for dynamics, sportiness and pure driving pleasure. With its motorsport-oriented super wide layout, the Fabia RS 2000 has room for four occupants, each of who will find access to the car easy. Low-slung windows all around do not just permit perfect 360° vision, but also a permanent experience of nature and freshness.
The Fabia Monte Carlo, itself introduced in New Delhi for the first time, is another embodiment of ŠKODA’s motorsport ambition. This car features an especially dynamic outfit and not only pays tribute to the Fabia S2000’s success in the IRC International Rally Championship and other competitions, but also to ŠKODA’s 111 years of motorsport history. The Fabia Monte Carlo is especially recognisable for the sporty execution of its front end.
One of the most likeable members of the compact SUV segment, which is fairly young, is the Yeti, also on display on ŠKODA’s stand. The Yeti is ready to provide transportation in difficult circumstances and will help his occupants where others throw in the towel. Its excellent off-road capabilities make him the choice for demanding terrain. On the road, its driving dynamics are nothing short of those in a saloon. Five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test are testament to a well-designed safety concept. The Yeti was introduced in India in November 2010.
ŠKODA production in India
ŠKODA has secured an excellent base for the growth it is aiming for in India. Having been active in the country since 2001, the brand has continuous increased its sales over the years. In the past ten years, about 132,000 ŠKODAs were delivered to customers in India.
ŠKODAs sold in India roll off assembly lines in Pune and Aurangabad. Volkswagen’s Pune plant opened in 2009 and today makes cars under the Volkswagen and ŠKODA brands. Following the Fabia, the new Rapid is the second ŠKODA to be produced there. ŠKODA’s plant in Aurangabad in Maharashtra region turns out the Superb, Laura and Yeti models.
Investments made so far in cooperation with Volkswagen, integration of local suppliers and employment of workers from the region all underscore ŠKODA’s commitment to India as a producer. 90 dealer locations make up the backbone of ŠKODA’s sales network in India.