Skoda to Launch 5 New Products in Two Years

Czech auto manufacturer, Skoda will be launching 5 new models in India over a period of two years, as it aims to increase presence in this market.

An upgraded Laura will be launched around next month, while a luxury compact Rapid will be available in the market by year end. They are also looking forward to launching small variant of Yeti SUV in diesel and petrol variants, as well as a small car priced between INR 3 to 5 lakhs.

Thomas Kuehl, board member in charge of marketing and sales, said that with the Laura, Yeti, Superb and Laura in the mid segment, they cover 30% of the passenger vehicle segment in India. They are now planning to add more models to their product line up in order to increase their market share by 4 to 6% in the next couple of years.

The Rapid, developed on the same platform as the Vento, will be available in diesel and petrol variants. It will compete against the Ford Fiesta, Honda City, Volkswagen Vento and Maruti SX4 that have established a sizeable niche in this category.

Kuehl added that their cars offer a better proposition of price value. In the luxury segment, the Superb and Laura have better styling, driveability and quality in comparison to its competition. Their entry level sedan will provide the same features and they are expecting it to lead sales in this segment, once they have launched it by year end.

The upper part of the compact sedan market has seen a lot of competition in the last few months. Maruti launched a diesel powered SX4 this February, and Ford launching a global Fiesta later in the year. Hyundai launched their Fluidic Verna this May, which has seen 21,000 bookings so far.

According to estimates in the industry, around 1,40,000 to 1,50,000 models of luxury compact sedans were sold in the market last year, with the category witnessing 25% growth. Skoda is also preparing a blueprint as they get ready to enter the SUV market. Kuehl said that they have a share of 25% in the D category with their Superb model, and a share of 16.5% in the market where the Laura is positioned. They are also working on expanding their strength in the SUV segment.

The Yeti was launched in November 2010 for capturing a share of 20% in the SUV market in India. The Yeti is available for INR 15.35 lakh to INR 16.73 lakh, according to ex-showroom prices in Delhi; however the demand for the SUV was not as strong as they had projected.

Skoda is currently looking to strengthen their presence in this segment with a small diesel powered variant sometime in this fiscal year. They are also carrying out market surveys for its petrol powered variant.

After the launch of this new sedan and the sales of the Yeti, Superb, Laura and Fabia, the company hopes to double their sales to about 40,000 models this year. They are also working to produce a small car specifically for this market that is expected to hit markets by 2013. In the last fiscal year, the company managed to sell about 22,969 models, recording a 31.24% annual growth.

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