NEW DELHI: Czech automaker Skoda, a part of the Volkswagen Group, on Tuesday said despite the coronavirus pandemic, it is not revising its target of selling 1 lakh cars annually in India to make the country one of its top five markets by 2025.
The company, which on Tuesday introduced three new products — fresh versions of sedans Rapid and Superb along with SUV Karoq at starting prices of Rs 7.49 lakh, Rs 29.99 lakh and Rs 24.99 lakh, respectively, also said it is not holding back investments in India, although this year it may not be able to meet its target due to the health crisis.
“We believe that COVID-19 will have an impact in the short and medium-term. We continue to have confidence in the long-term potential of India. So we continue to hold on to our target of selling 1 lakh cars annually in India by 2025 to make it one of the top five global markets for Skoda,” Skoda Auto India Brand Director Zac Hollis told PTI.
When asked if the company would also continue its investments in India, he said, “We are not holding back investments either.”
Skoda Auto is leading Volkswagen Group’s revival in India under its India2.0 programme with a planned investment of 1 billion euro (around Rs 7,900 crore) between 2019 and 2021. The group has set a target of capturing 5 per cent of the Indian passenger vehicles market by 2025, up from around 2 per cent.
The company plans to launch new products under its MQB A0-IN platform to target the mass segment.
When asked if the pandemic has impacted the company’s product development programmes which could have a bearing on launches in India, Hollis said there could be some challenges, but “we are trying to minimise delays, if at all there are any”.
Commenting on market conditions, he said it will be a very slow recovery and demand is expected to pick up again by around festive season in September-October. “This year we wanted to sell more than what we sold in 2019, but due to the crisis it is unlikely, and what we are trying to do is sell as much as we can,” Hollis said, adding that the company is also banking on the newly introduced products.
The new Skoda Rapid is powered by a new 1-litre petrol engine with a power output of 110 PS. On the other hand, Superb will house a 2-litre petrol engine with a power output of 190 PS and can accelerate from 0-100 km/hr in 7.7 seconds with a top speed of 239 km/hr.
The all-new KAROQ is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine with power of 150 PS. It is mated with an automatic seven speed transmission. From 2021, the company will start launching products under its India2.0 programme, staring with a compact SUV based on Vision In concept which was showcased at the Auto Expo earlier this year.
Hollis said that under India2.0 project, Skoda Auto will expand its geographical presence from 80 dealership touchpoints across 65 cities at present to over 200 touchpoints across 150 cities by 2025.