India continues to be one of the primary markets for Skoda Auto. Zac Hollis, director- sales, service and marketing at Skoda India, tells FE’s Shashank Dipankar that the company is channelising its efforts to ensure a continuous product pipeline and introduction of innovative technologies that are relevant to the market. Edited Excerpts:
You are launching a new vehicle in an environment where the demand slowdown is worst in 20 years. How has this period been for Skoda?
The automotive industry is witnessing a temporary challenging phase and the recent macroeconomic and geopolitical factors are impacting the customer purchase decisions. However, the interim phase is short-lived. Skoda Auto is very optimistic about the unexplored avenues which the ‘INDIA 2.0’ project will open for us. We will be channelising our efforts to ensure a continuous product pipeline and introduction of innovative technologies that are relevant to the market.
How has been the volume growth for your leading products?
We command substantial market share in the segments in which we operate. The Skoda Octavia, the Skoda , and the Skoda Kodiaq have successfully garnered 22%, 53%, and 25% of their respective segments. For the first time ever, one in ten mid-size sedan customers, opts for the Skoda Rapid.
The company has recently spend Rs. 120 crore in redesigning its dealer network in India. What was the main idea behind this investment?
Skoda has successfully re-branded its entire network. The transformation of our sales and service touchpoints, envisioned to provide an enhanced customer experience, has been received astoundingly well by our customers and dealer partners. We are focusing on further strengthening the ‘value luxury’ experience for our customers while working closely with our dealer partners to ensure sustainability.
What sort of discounts and benefits is your company offering this festive season?
We have aligned our strategy in line with the expectations of the customers, especially in the prevailing market situation. The corporate edition of the Superb and the Kodiaq have also been launched at very attractive prices, and offer customer benefits of up to Rs. 2 lakh. The recently announced Scout will be available at an introductory price of Rs. 33.99 lakh.
How is the new merged entity Skoda Auto Volkswagen India is going to affect the dynamics of the company and what was the vision behind this merger?
The Volkswagen Group has merged its three Indian passenger car subsidiaries: Volkswagen India (VWIPL), Volkswagen Group Sales India (NSC) and Skoda Auto India (SAIPL). This integration will lead to faster decision making, shorter turnaround time, increased efficiency using existing synergies, and sustainable profitability for its business partners.