Skoda to unveil new Fabia variants

Skoda Auto India, part of Europe’s largest-carmaker Volkswagen, will launch three new variants of its flagship hatchback Fabia, including a new sports model this year, a top company executive said.

The new sports car, Fabia Sportline, will have newly-designed interiors and alloy wheels. It will be fired by a powerful 1,800-cc engine to cater to the growing demand for sports vehicles. The existing Fabia range comes with 1200-1600 cc engine capacity.

“We will launch multiple variants of the Fabia to leverage on its popularity. We will introduce Fabia Combi (estate version) and the tallboy Roomster models to consolidate the brand in the Indian market. We will also showcase the Fabia Rally car, though it will not be available for retail sale,” Skoda’s head (sales and marketing) Thomas Kuehl said.

Skoda, the maker of premium cars, is among the few auto makers whose sales have increased in the domestic market when total auto sales have declined due to the financial meltdown. Its sales grew 22% to 11,309 cars in the April-December period. Fabia is its largest selling brand and the company sold over 7,000 cars in 2008, the first year of its launch.

Currently, Fabia is assembled at Skoda’s Aurangabad facility that will move to Volkswagen’s upcoming plant at Pune in Maharashtra in April-May. Skoda will also launch the next generation models of sedans Superb and Laura in the next few months.

“We have finalised plans to launch the next generation Superb in India and the new Laura will hit the market in the middle of 2009. We want to remain the segment leader in the Rs. 1-2.5 million (US$ 19,380-48,450) bracket,” Mr Kuehl said.

The company will also venture into the sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment with the launch of its Yeti model in early 2010, expected to be priced around Rs. 1 million. It will expand its dealership network to 60 this year. In a bid to augment spare part supplies from its European facilities, Skoda has set up a warehouse at Aurangabad at an investment of Rs. 120 million.

Source: Economic Times