Skoda confirms Rapid replacement sedan for the Indian market: To take on Honda City

Skoda India will have a quiet couple of years when it comes to affordable cars. In 2021 though, not one but two all-new affordable cars will be launched: the Kamiq compact SUV that will rival the Hyundai Creta and the Rapid replacement C-Segment sedan, which will take on the Honda City. Zac Hollis, Director, Sales and Marketing for Skoda India, in an interview to ZigWheels said that the sedan that will replace the Rapid will arrive by the end of 2021, and will use the MQB A0 platform that Skoda is developing specifically for emerging markets of the world such as India and Brazil. The car will have a notchback form factor. Mr. Hollis also talked about the shift from petrol to diesel cars as emission norms get tighter, and about how Skoda is betting on CNG instead of hybrids.

Skoda confirms Rapid replacement sedan for the Indian market: To take on Honda City

Here are some of his comments,

The world premiere for the SUV in India is slated to happen in 2020, and customers can start buying it in early 2021. Then, right at the end of 2021, we will launch the notchback. The market is moving more towards petrol. In fact, Europe has transitioned to petrol very quickly. It surprised everybody. In fact, it’s causing big problems as we have a shortage of petrol engines across all of our production facilities. So, I can see India also moving towards petrol as the cost of upgrading diesel engines to BS6 is very expensive. Other competitors are doing it too. But you’ll see a significant rise in prices of diesel cars as we move forward. And that’s going to reduce the market for diesel even more, because the business case for buying a diesel will only become weaker. We have hybrids in Europe, and we will introduce the tech in the Superb and Octavia too. But there’s not enough capacity for the demand in Europe. So, it’s unlikely that we will bring the hybrids into India. But, instead, we are seriously considering CNG. The government has also put their money behind CNG in the short to medium term. For the long term, they’re investing in electric vehicles like most markets. The government has also confirmed that it will increase the number of CNG filling stations from 1,400 to 10,000. When that happens, and when brands like Skoda start introducing CNG options, the market acceptance of CNG will also go up. All manufacturers have to meet average CO2 emissions as per the CAFE Norms, in 2022-23 and to do that, we will need to look at alternative fuel technology. We have no choice.”

Clearly, Skoda India is betting on petrol engines for its future cars, including the Rapid replacement sedan and the Kamiq compact SUV. Both vehicles could be offered with a 1 liter-3 cylinder turbocharged TSI petrol engine with about 110 Bhp-200 Nm on tap. This engine is expected to get 6 speed manual and 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearbox options.

A front wheel drive layout will be standard on both cars, which are expected to totally dump diesel engines. We also expect the 1 liter TSI engine to be made compliant with CNG, and Skoda isn’t too keen on hybrids for smaller cars thanks to the costs involved. A larger 1.5 liter-4 cylinder TSI turbo petrol engine could also be offered on both cars as a range topping option.

Skoda India has been instrumental in re-engineering and localizing the Euro-focused MQB platform of the Volkswagen group for the Indian market. The localization and re-engineering will result in the MQB A0 (pronounced A-Zero) platform, which will be used by compact cars sold by both Volkswagen and Skoda in emerging markets including India. The first car on this platform will be the Kamiq compact SUV, which will be aimed at the Hyundai Creta.