Skoda’s upcoming launches in India

Skoda Auto India has a slew of launches lined up for India that will include the Laura RS sedan, the Scout station-wagon, a less expensive Yeti SUV, a sub-Fabia small car (in the Rs. 3 -5 lakh range) and the Rapid sedan (based on the VW Vento). A recent report in a publication says that Skoda may brand the new small car “Youngster.”

The company is also mulling a lower-priced version of the Yeti SUV which will be powered by a smaller capacity petrol engine.

Given the hectic launch calendar planned by Skoda India, CarToq decided to put together a launch ready-reckoner for you. Presented below are upcoming Skoda car launches, in order of their expected launch timelines.

Skoda Laura RS (September 2011)

In the past we have had a taste of Skoda’s RS variants with the Skoda Octavia RS and now India will get the Skoda Laura RS. Skoda however has learned from the Octavia RS order and in order to play safe, the company will offer the Laura RS with only a sports kit. Related: Skoda Laura RS to come to India this September

skoda octavia rs liftback front left photo
Photo: Skoda Laura Rally Sport

The India specific Laura RS will come without the 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine that is sports in international markets.

The Laura RS sports kits includes 18” Neptune light alloy wheels, a chrome tipped double exhaust, optional xenon headlights with dynamic angle controls, LED daytime running lights and fog lamps.

On the inside, the Laura RS gets sporty Alcantara/leather seats with lateral support and a RS emblem. It will also come equipped with race-bred alloy pedals and stylish grey-trimmed floor mats. The prices for the non-RS Laura model range from Rs. 11.91 lakh to Rs. 18.21 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The Laura RS will likely be launched in September 2011 in the Rs. 15 – 20 lakh price band and will have no direct competition when launched in India. Another car that is expected to find its way to Indian markets is the Skoda Scout.

Skoda Fabia Scout (2011 end-2012)

Skoda had announced its plans to launch a sub Rs 10 lakh SUV for the Indian market which could likely be the Fabia Scout station wagon (Yes, a station wagon is not an SUV but that’s what the grapevine suggests).

skoda fabia scout photo
Photo: Skoda Fabia Scout

The Fabia Scout is expected to hit the Indian market by late 2011 or early 2012 and will likely accommodate only 5 occupants just like its sibling, the Yeti SUV. To justify the SUV tag, the Fabia Scout will sport features like a plastic cladding all around the lower half, flared wheel arches and bumper skid plates at the bottom.

The Scout will likely be powered by a 1.6 litre diesel in order to set in motion the Scout with its lengthened body and added weight (This diesel motor may be sourced from the Volkswagen Vento).

The Skoda Scout will not have direct competition, but in its price range (Rs. 7 – 11 lakh), this model will compete with the likes of the Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari.

New Skoda Yeti (2012)

Skoda is planning to launch a low-priced variant of the Yeti SUV which will be a less powerful petrol engine variant, in order to make the SUV more affordable. The Yeti was launched with a 2.0 litre diesel motor in November 2010 and is currently available in two trim levels, Ambiente (Rs. 15.40 lakhs) and Elegance (Rs.16.62 lakhs).

skoda yeti road test
Photo: Skoda Yeti SUV

The sales of the Yeti could likely increase once the new variant is launched. Skoda Yeti’s new variant if priced in the expected Rs. 11 – 13 lakh price band will lock horns with top-end variants of the Mahindra Scorpio and the base variant of Tata Aria. The Yeti low-price variant could hit the market in late 2011 or early 2012.

Skoda Small Car (2013)

Skoda will launch a small car (excepted in 2013) to be pitched below the Fabia small car in the company’s portfolio. There are no official comments about the details of this car yet. According to a recent Overdrive report, Skoda may badge the small car as the ‘Youngster’. There are speculations that the Youngster will likely get its underpinnings from its parent company Volkswagen’s, ‘Up’ concept car.

skoda youngster photo
Photo: Skoda Youngster sketch (Courtesy: Overdrive)

Further, Skoda revealed its new design signature in the Vision D concept car that was showcased at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year. The small car could also get a few styling elements from the Vision D concept if rumours are to be believed.

The Youngster (if that is what Skoda calls it) will be powered by a 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine that will make 65 bhp of maximum power and a 1.3 litre, 4–cylinder diesel motor belting out 75 bhp of maximum power. Pricing will be a crucial factor if Skoda aims to make the Youngster small car, its volume driver.

Skoda Rapid

The Skoda Rapid will replace the discontinued Octavia model in India and is expected to be based on the Volkswagen Vento sedan. No official date has been announced for the Rapids launch.

skoda vision d photo
Photo: Skoda Rapid Sedan

The Rapid is currently undergoing testing and will be produced at the Volkswagen’ Chakan plant near Pune. It could get a few design elements of the Vision D concept the company unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show.

The Rapid will be powered by the same 1.6 litre petrol and 1.6 litre diesel engines that power the Volkswagen Vento. Skoda will likely launch the Rapid during the last quarter of this year.

Rapid will compete with Maruti Suzuki SX4, Hyundai Verna, Honda City and Volkswagen Vento in the Rs. 7 – 10 lakh price range

With its parent company Volkswagen having ambitious plans for the Indian market and aiming to become the No.1 auto maker in the world by 2018, the Czech car maker Skoda is also setting up a strong base with this ambitious launch plan.