April 20, 2021

Launch of India-specific automobiles stays on monitor for Volkswagen group regardless of COVID problem

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown up a number of challenges within the ‘India 2.0’ venture for the Volkswagen group however the launch timelines for India-specific automobiles haven’t been altered, in line with a senior official of Skoda Auto.

The Czech carmaker Skoda Auto, which is main the revival of the Volkswagen group in India, is nonetheless going through delays in its deliberate community enlargement in India, particularly in tier II and III cities as a result of well being disaster.

“Whenever you take a look at our product improvement, we set out with lots of funding which was already made into the India 2.Zero merchandise earlier than the COVID-19 even hit us. Now COVID-19 has hit us in quite a few methods relating to our venture investments,” Skoda Auto India Model Director Zac Hollis informed PTI.

Elaborating the challenges, he mentioned, “The primary, we had instruments coming from sure markets and sure international locations. Tooling for the manufacturing line was delayed due to COVID-19. The opposite scenario is we now have specialists coming in from Europe, who we have to assist us develop the manufacturing strains for the MQB AO (platform) in India. So that they could not journey both.”

Requested if this might delay the launch of the corporate’s merchandise, Hollis replied within the unfavourable.

“Regardless of this we’re nonetheless holding on to our launch timetable for ‘India 2.0’. It’s a large achievement that we’re in a position to try this on this scenario that we now have. I’m very enthusiastic about launching the primary automobile in the course of subsequent yr,” he mentioned.

Skoda Auto had unveiled its Imaginative and prescient IN, an India particular mid-sized SUV idea automobile primarily based on the MQB A0 IN platform, on the Auto Expo earlier this yr which is slated to be launched subsequent yr.

The SUV will likely be adopted by a mid-sized sedan proper on the finish of the following yr, Hollis mentioned, including, “We can even convey within the fourth technology Octavia within the early a part of subsequent yr. It is a utterly new automobile… We’ll convey Kodiaq (SUV) with BS-VI engine within the early a part of subsequent yr.”

Commenting on the influence of the pandemic on community enlargement in India, Hollis mentioned, “We deliberate to broaden the supplier community and repair community as a part of India 2.Zero significantly in tier II and III cities. This has been slowed down a bit bit due to the pandemic.”

Elaborating additional, he mentioned, “You are able to do sure issues by means of video conferencing however it is vitally troublesome for the community crew to go to the positioning…This introduced some challenges for us however we’re happy to say that this yr we are going to go from 86 retailers now to 100 (by the top of the yr) and 130 by June subsequent yr. So our community enlargement plan is a bit bit delayed but it surely continues.”

He, nonetheless, mentioned, “Nonetheless taking a look at getting into 50 new cities by 2020. We will likely be having 150 retailers by the top of subsequent yr and 200 by the point we get to the next yr.”

Earlier Skoda Auto India had set a goal of getting 200 retailers by the top of subsequent yr.

The Volkswagen group had introduced an funding of 1 billion euro (round Rs 7,900 crore) between 2019 and 2021 as a part of its newest technique to reinforce presence in India which will likely be led by group agency Skoda Auto.

Commenting on the present market situations, Hollis mentioned definitely the market could be very buoyant in the intervening time and the corporate is anticipating a powerful festive interval.

“There may be clearly some pent up demand. There would have been individuals trying round for private transport and vehicles in April and Could and they’re nonetheless round, they’re nonetheless searching for vehicles due to the scenario. Now we have seen this additionally in European markets the place there was some pent up demand,” he mentioned.

Additional, Hollis mentioned, “We’re additionally seeing a want for private mobility. A want for purchasers to guard themselves, to maintain their family protected and perhaps in India, they aren’t fairly prepared to return to public transport, regardless that they’ve been reassured about sanitisation and so forth.”

Furthermore, individuals are additionally “a bit bit nervous about shared transport” because of which demand is seen occurring, particularly on the entry-level section of vehicles, he mentioned.

In September the corporate expects to promote 1,200 vehicles, he mentioned, including that gross sales in 2020 will certainly be lower than final yr when it offered 15,000 models.