Skoda Fabia or Volkswagen Polo, why is the latter more popular?

The Skoda Fabia and the Volkswagen Polo have a lot in common. Both cars belong to the same group parent – Volkswagen, which owns Skoda Auto. They also share plenty of components and engines, being built on the same platform. In fact, variant for variant the Skoda Fabia is slightly cheaper than the Volkswagen Polo, but yet, the Polo sells nearly TEN times more cars than the Fabia does. Why is that so?

We look at why the Skoda Fabia just does not appeal to buyers of premium hatchbacks as much as the Volkswagen Polo does.

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Brand image

Skoda as a brand has been in India for far longer than the Volkswagen brand, even though both belong to the same parent company. Skoda, however, in the early years didn’t gather much of a reputation for service standards, and even though it has improved on its service in the past few years, the perception that Skoda’s after sales service does not match that of Volkswagen is still there. Volkswagen has been advertising its products as precision engineered and of high quality as soon as it launched the Polo and Vento. Also read: Volkswagen slashes prices on Polo and Vento

Skewed pricing

When Skoda launched the Fabia in 2008, it priced it at bit too much of a premium. The car came with a 1.4 litre petrol engine and was priced close to Rs. 7 lakh. It did have features such as a sun roof, projector headlamps, rear wipe-wash (now missing) on the car, but that was still too much to pay for a premium hatchback, especially when the Maruti Swift was available for more than Rs. 2 lakh less than the Fabia. That premium image stuck with the brand and the car’s sales were slow.

When Volkswagen launched the Polo in 2010, it too priced it at a premium, but not too much. The difference between the Polo’s pricing and that of the Maruti Swift was about Rs. 50,000 or so, and that was a premium buyers were willing to pay for the classy looks and more space that the Polo offered, but not so for the Fabia.

The new Polo top-end is slightly cheaper than the Fabia now after the revised pricing by Volkswagen and the addition of a few more features. The Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TDI Highline is priced at Rs. 6.9 lakh ex-showroom Delhi compared to the Skoda Fabia that is priced at Rs. 7.43 lakh for the Elegance 1.2 TDI variant. Also read: Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI petrol coming soon

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New Fabia lacks character

In 2010, Skoda refreshed the Fabia, dropping prices and removing the 1.4 litre engine from its line up. It introduced the Fabia with the 1.2 litre diesel and petrol engines – which were three-cylinder engines from the Polo. Both cars – the Fabia and Polo now come with identical engines. However, the Volkswagen Polo has seemingly better pricing and value for money. The Polo for instance offers a rear-wiper while the Fabia does not. The Fabia has more boot space and daytime running lamps, but still isn’t as appealing as a car, compared to the Polo. Also read: Skoda Fabia road test

Share your thoughts on why the Skoda Fabia is not selling as much as the Volkswagen Polo, although both cars share a common lineage.