Volkswagen group plans to invest 7,600 crore rupees or 1 billion euros in its Chakan factory, near Pune. This investment is to build five new cars – the all-new Polo, the all-new Vento, the all-new Skoda Rapid and a T-Cross based compact SUV that will be sold by both Volkswagen and Skoda.
These cars will be built on a low cost platform called the MQB-A0 (pronounced A Zero). The MQB-A0 platform us a low cost variant of the MQB platform, and is meant for developing markets like India and Brazil, where full MQB cars are said to be too expensive.
The MQB A0 based cars will start arriving in 2021 but it won’t be until the end of 2022 before all five cars get launched. Volkswagen has tasked Skoda India to figure out how the MQB platform can be pared down into the low cost MQB-A0 platform.
Skoda will engineer the new platform to suit emerging markets, and will also interact closely with vendors who can supply parts for the new platform. Local sourcing and manufacturing is expected to allow both Volkswagen and Skoda to price these cars competitively, and challenge Maruti and Hyundai – the Indian car market’s leaders.
Since India’s emissions will move to the highly stringent Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) standards from April 2020, the new budget Volkswagen and Skoda cars will have to meet the new emission norms. To do this, both petrol and diesel engines that will be offered on the 5 new cars are expected to be turbocharged.
Turbocharging cuts emissions, and also allows car makers to use smaller engines as more power and torque can be squeezed out such engines. The new cars are also expected to be ready to accept hybrid powertrain layouts, and also all-electric powertrains as electric cars are said to be the next-big thing in the Indian market.