Skoda to launch diesel version of new Superb

Skoda India is gearing up to strengthen its presence in the D segment with the new Superb, which was launched recently. Plans are underway for a diesel version and a more powerful petrol option. Mr Thomas Kuehl, board member, sales & marketing, Skoda India, said the company had sold 300 cars in 10 days since its launch.

“We launched it with a 1.8 litre-TSI engine, a turbo petrol whose fuel economy is almost at par with a diesel engine. We will also come out with a 2 litre-TDI diesel engine and 3.2 litre V6, a 260 HP gasoline engine. The fuel efficiency of the car is 12-15 km/litre,” he said.

On the recent downturn in sales (Skoda India’s numbers, at 706 units in February, were down 46 per cent), Mr Kuehl said the entire C segment had fallen nearly 50 per cent. “Tactical pricing by competitors, coupled with new launches, poses a tough challenge to our Fabia hatchback,” he said.

Skoda plans to launch the new Laura in the second half of the calendar. Mr Keuhl said the vehicle financing arm, Skoda Finance, would also become operational during this time. The Roomster multipurpose vehicle is also on the cards and is expected to be “in the medium range” in terms of price positioning. “We would like to position it somewhere in the C segment,” he said.

He said, by 2011, apart from the existing models, SkodaIndia will have a small car below the Fabia range, a successor of Octavia, which is an all new car, the compact SUV Yeti in its portfolio. “We have no CBU plans. All models we want to sell in India will be made in India,” he said.

About the existing level of localisation in Skoda models, he said, “When it comes to localisation we need volumes. For that reason we are now focussing on localisation of Fabia. Localisation in Fabia is now 5 per cent; this will go up to 50 per cent in two years following the shifting of Fabia production to Volkswagen’s Chakan plant.”

Volkswagen, the parent company of Skoda, will commission its Chakan plant with 110,000 units capacity and will start with manufacturing Fabia.

Source: Hindu Business Line