Skoda India’s 2014 will be a low key year with the Volkswagen group owned Czech car maker focusing on the refreshes of the Superb luxury saloon and the Yeti crossover. 2015 though could bring more cheer as the company will have a big volume model to choose from its international portfolio.
Two such all-new products that Skoda is considering for the Indian car market are the 2015 Fabia and the 7 seat SUV. While the next-generation Fabia is likely to hit India by 2015, the new, 7 seat SUV could take a couple of more years to arrive. The 7 seat SUV will sit above the Yeti.
By the end of this year, the MQB (NVQ platform according to Skoda’s internal name) based Skoda Fabia hatchback will made its international debut. Skoda India could launch the next generation Fabia in India next year, with the car serving as a replacement to the outgoing model, which incidentally has already been discontinued in India.
The 2015 Fabia will get new turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines, and will also feature revised styling. Skoda wants to attract more youth to its fold and the 2015 Fabia hatchback’s styling, connectivity options and features are likely to be youth centric.
The 7 seat SUV that Skoda is developing will also be based on the MQB platform. This SUV will share its underpinnings with a Volkswagen SUV, another 7 seat model. Both SUVs are likely to hit the production line in 2016 and will be based on the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept that was first showcased at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show.
The 7 seat SUV from Skoda is internally code-named the A-Plus and will sit above the Yeti in terms of price and positioning. Expect the new SUV to take on the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and the Hyundai Santa Fe in India’s luxury SUV segment.
In India, Skoda plans to stick to the premium pricing strategy. However, plans are afoot to increase the localization on its range of cars. Higher localization is likely to result in lower long term ownership costs, an area in which Skoda is particularly weak in.
Skoda India’s decision to stick to being a premium brand could also have to do with Volkswagen developing a budget car brand for emerging markets of the world, including India. The low cost car brand from Volkswagen is likely to be positioned below both Volkswagen and Skoda nameplates.