Now working as a cohesive company under the umbrella of Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd. Volkswagen and Skoda are working towards a new offensive for the Indian market called the “India 2.0” strategy. At the 2020 Auto Expo in February, Volkswagen and Skoda announced their plans in detail and showcased what it has in store in the coming year.
As a part of the plan, Skoda is said to take the lead in the Indian market and become the primary brand for the company. Both brands have taken an SUV dominant approach with VW launching both the Tiguan Allspace and the T-Roc in India a month after they made their India debut. Skoda is currently gearing up to launch its rival to the Jeep Compass as the Karoq and is already accepting bookings for the SUV. But the official launch of the Karoq has been delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown
Skoda’s popular and affordable performance sedan, the Octavia vRS245 that arrived in India in limited numbers was almost sold out as soon as bookings were opened to the public. Skoda also plans to revamp its current models range entirely, including the Rapid and the Superb sedans. All of the models are one of the best-built cars and offer the best driving experience in their respective segments. But the party piece (or pieces) that both brands are working towards introducing compact SUVs that will take on the ever-popular Hyundai Creta, and the much in demand – Kia Seltos.
At the 2020 Auto Expo, both VW and Skoda took the wraps off the VW Taigun and the Skoda Vision IN Concept. Both models are expected to arrive within the 2020-21 financial year with the Skoda’s yet to be officially named SUV said to be launched first followed by the VW Taigun in 2021.
What we know so far from about both models is that they will share the same MQB-AO-IN platform and will be powered by a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine that develops 147hp and 250Nm of torque. Both the VW and Skoda models will offer the slick-shifting 7-speed DSG automatic transmission that will help drive the front wheels. This powertrain combination will be employed in most Skoda-VW compact models moving forward.
From a branding standpoint, VW globally has taken a more youth-oriented approach after it recently revamped its brand image. While Skoda took the reserved and mature approach. The approach seems to simulate what is being practised by the Hyundai Motor Group in India. While Kia seems to aspire to be more youthful, Hyundai tries to cater to a more mature audience. For both the VW Group and Hyundai Group, the philosophy evident at first glance of the exterior styling of their respective models.
What the Skoda and VW both lack would be diesel offerings that could limit their demand. However, with the Seltos and the latest generation Creta now already on sale, Skoda-VW have a benchmark which they would need to match, or even try and reset.
When it comes to automotive technology, VW globally is one of the most advanced automotive groups. But what Skoda and VW in India have not been able to achieve in the past is competitive pricing and timely updates to the products. However, it continues to work towards smoothening out the dented image of its after-sales services in India.
VW believes that by the time, both models are launched in the Indian market, the segment would mature further. The automaker is working towards meeting those expectations with the Taigun and the same principles are expected to be followed by Skoda. The future of Volkswagen and Skoda hinge on these two models, superior build quality and the ability to be great driving machines is also expected from the SUVs. But it is vital that both must be competitively priced and offer great value, which will be key in order to be worthy rivals in a highly competitive segment.
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