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.

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I haven’t driven the Polo, so I cannot speak authoritatively about it. But having a honda city and the Fabia, one can easily identify the different philosophies that have gone into designing the cars. There is one spec which speaks volumes about this philosophical divergence: Empty weight. The Honda City weighs in at around 650 Kg whereas the Fabia being a small car weighs 1050 Kgs (one Ton!) . People complain about how the Fabia is not particularly agile for its price; if Skoda brings the weight down to 650 Kgs, the Fabia will fly. The Fabia is a no nonsense car, if you treat it with respect, it’ll be a rewarding experience. The only expenditure would incur is insurance premiums, fuel and a service every 15000 Km (the honda needs attention every 5000 Km). With regard to fuel efficiency, I’ve seen a lot of people complain about low fuel efficiency (10 Kmpl on most forums). Sitting alone in the car, I manage 25 Kmpl in city roads without traffic, 14 Kmpl in city conditions with very heavy traffic (gurgaon office hours) and 23 Kmpl on highway (80 Kmph cruise). If you turn on the AC deduct 1.2 Kmpl and for every extra adult passenger deduct another 1.2 Kmpl.

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