It’s almost common knowledge that Audi, Porsche and Skoda are all related to Volkswagen. It’s also a well known fact globally that the Skoda brand sits below the Volkswagen brand in other markets in terms of price positioning, except in India, where they operate neck and neck. That’s set to change.
Volkswagen is planning to reposition the Skoda brand in India, taking it a rung lower in the price ladder, so that Volkswagen cars are seen as a premium brand, while the Skoda brand becomes more affordable. This is good news for car buyers who are fans of the Skoda brand. Also read: Volkswagen adds features, slashes prices on Polo and Vento Highline
If you look at Skoda and Volkswagen cars across segments, you’ll see that they are rather closely priced, although in many instances the Skoda is actually better value for money. Take the Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo for instance. The Fabia is priced between Rs. 5.36 lakh to Rs. 8.12 lakh across seven variants – three diesel and four petrol. The Fabia shares the same engine choices with the Volkswagen Polo, which is priced between Rs. 5.38 lakh and Rs. 6.45 lakh, a case where the Polo is actually better value than the Fabia! This is not so in other markets.
If you look at the Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento, the positioning is sort of corrected. The Rapid is priced between Rs. 6.92 lakh to Rs. 9.70 lakh for five petrol and three diesel variants, including two petrol automatics. The Volkswagen Vento, on which the Rapid is based, is priced between Rs. 7.29 lakh and Rs. 9.89 lakh for three diesel and three petrol models, including one automatic petrol variant. Still, here the pricing is too close to each other – which does not give VW enough of a premium over Skoda. Also read: Pros and cons of Volkswagen Vento
In the premium mid-size segment as well, the Skoda Laura and Volkswagen Jetta compete with each other, and although the Jetta is a little more premium compared to the Laura in terms of pricing, it loses out because it does not have features that the Laura has variant for variant – like a climatronic (automatic climate control) AC.
And if you look at the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat, again the perception of luxury is a lot more in the Skoda Superb compared to the Volkswagen Passat. Now this is something Volkswagen needs to correct in India, if it wants to follow global convention and hierarchy. Also read: Pros and Cons of Skoda Rapid
Good for Skoda buyers
For you the buyer, this would mean that Skoda cars would become slightly cheaper. Yes, some of them like the Superb and Laura may lose some features in the bid to reduce the price of the brand. This situation has come about in India, because Skoda entered India in 2001, while Volkswagen only came in in 2007, but began selling its mass market cars like the Polo and Vento only in 2010.