In July — after the launch of the Kushaq midsize SUV on June 28 — Skoda India dealerships saw four times as many prospective customers compared with June, Zac Hollis, brand director, Skoda Auto India, told FE on Tuesday. The Czech carmaker is now going on a network expansion drive. “We have received about 200 applications for Skoda dealerships post the Kushaq launch,” he said. “We will be present in over 100 cities by August, with 170 customer touchpoints, up from 120 right now.”
The Kushaq is Skoda’s entry into the midsize SUV segment — Siam classifies it as vehicles longer than 4 metres but shorter than 4.4, and costing under Rs 20 lakh. It is currently dominated by Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.
Next month Volkswagen will also enter this space by launching the Taigun.
“We aim to sell a total of 30,000 units in 2021,” Hollis added. “Of these, 70-80% sales are expected to come from the Kushaq.”
Utility vehicles have become the preferred body shape for Indian car buyers — according to FY21 sales data from Siam, sales of sedans/hatchbacks dropped 9.06% in the pandemic year, but those of SUVs/MUVs grew 12.13%.
Hollis, however, added that the midsize sedan space (Rs 10-20 lakh) is still a promising area for carmakers.
“We will unveil a new midsize sedan later this calendar year and will start its deliveries early in 2022. It will be bigger than our current sedan, the Rapid, and will be positioned above that,” he said.
While he didn’t say whether or not it will replace the Rapid—which is now into its tenth year running—industry sources FE talked to confirmed that the Rapid will be replaced with the new sedan.
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