Skoda eyes top-end segment pie, plans models

Skoda eyes top-end segment pie, plans models

Says brand must mean one thing, and not many things

Skoda eyes top-end segment pie, plans models
Czech automobile giant Skoda has revealed plans to roll out at least 2-3 new cars in the next one year, as part of its medium-term growth plans for the Indian market.

The cars may include facelifts of existing models, or new models altogether. “We are exploring all options in terms of unveiling new products for the Indian market. The cars may belong to any segment. In the meantime, our strategy is to stay in the upper end of the sedan segment, which encompasses all styles — small, mid-sized and large sedans,” Skoda Auto India Director (Sales and Marketing) Ashutosh Dixit told Deccan Herald.

Volkswagen-owned Skoda Auto is bullish on the niche, top-end sedan segments. Skoda offers a desirable range of sedans in India such as the compact Rapid, mid-sized Octavia, and the large Superb.

The Rapid operates in the upper B+ segment (Rs 7 lakh onwards), and Skoda claims to hold around 25 per cent share in the higher-end of that segment (Rs 10 lakh-Rs 12 lakh), which sees sales of around 40,000 units.

“We have been very well received in the higher price brackets that we operate in. The upper segment of sedans costing Rs 18 lakh-Rs 22 lakh (Octavia) is a promising one, and we occupy around 50-60 per cent of that market. At the same time, we hold on to at least 10 per cent share of the large premium sedan category (Superb), where cars are priced at Rs 25 lakh-Rs 35 lakh,” Dixit said.

Focused product spread
“We have not expanded to every segment, and don’t want to be mainstream. We have a very focused product portfolio, in which there is a specific focus on the success of each model. In the customer’s mind, our brand must mean one thing, and not many things. They must have relevant expectations,” he said. For now, the Rapid will continue to be thre entry-level product for the brand.

Globally, Volkswagen is clear that each of its brands plays a specific role in the markets it operates. While every brand does its business independently, there is always a synergy with the parent.

“Skoda, within the Volkswagen Group, is successful. Last year, globally we sold over one million cars, enjoying consistent growth for the last 20 years,” Dixit said.

The company’s India story is also gearing up for higher potential. “In India, we have covered a rare gap between the mid- and premium segments. We have consolidated our position in the upper-end niche segments, to which a transition is happening,” he added.

Meanwhile, the company’s long-term objective includes Pursuing its current 8-10 per cent growth over the next three years, and push sales volumes to 17,000 units, this year, from last year’s 15,500 units.
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