Czech automaker Skoda on Thursday unveiled its new mid-size sedan, the Slavia. It has been built specifically to suit the Indian market and will compete with cars like Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Honda City. While the ground clearance of the vehicle looks suitable for the Indian roads, the question arises that whether the new entrant that shares its platform with the Skoda Kushaq and the Volkswagen Taigun will make a mark in an SUV-hungry market like India. The MQB-A0-IN platform is a localized version of the MQB-A0 platform that’s used by the company in its global markets.
The Slavia is the company’s second product under 'INDIA 2.0 strategy' to ramp up its volumes in the domestic market. Skoda said that it’s aiming for five per cent market share in India on the back of its new launches like the Kushaq and the Slavia. “When we started, one of the objectives for the group was to capture 5% market share by 2025 with Skoda Kushaq and now the Slavia, we are getting ever closer to achieving it,” Gurpratap Boparai, Managing Director, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India said.
“In addition to the increasingly sought-after SUVs, the premium sedan segment offers tremendous potential, and it’s a territory that we have made our own. The sophisticated Slavia stands for prestige and style. It also represents a new growth area for Skoda Auto. With its sophistication, capable engines and numerous Simply Clever features, the SLAVIA will appeal to discerning customers in India, and it will also be appreciated in markets around the world,” Boparai added.
Even though the prices haven’t been released yet, the Slavia is expected to be placed above Skoda Rapid as it’s a bigger and a more premium offering. Skoda has achieved 95 percent localization. This will help them price it competitively. “The Slavia will usher in a new era into the Indian market. We want to significantly increase our sales with Slavia and Kushaq. Our overarching goal is to develop Skoda into the leading European brand in India,” said Thomas Schaefer, CEO, Skoda Auto.
“Following the successful launch of the Kushaq, we are now entering another popular segment with our brand-new premium midsize sedan. The Slavia is perfectly tailored to the needs of our customers in India and is built with up to 95% localisation. We are confident that both the Kushaq and the Slavia will allow us to leverage the full potential in this promising, growing market,” Schaefer adds.
India’s automobile sector has seen a major growth in SUVs (sports utility vehicles) for the last few years. The sales of SUVs contribute to 40 per cent of the overall PV sales. According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), sales of the premium category vehicles (premium compact, compact UV and other SUVs) have seen a major uptick between FY19 and FY21. “The contribution of the premium compact segment to the overall sales has increased from 12-13 per cent in FY19 to 14-15 per cent in FY21,” it said. SIAM said that utility vehicles are also seeing a major rise, with compact UVs seeing a 7 per cent increase between FY19 and FY21. On the other hand, the entry-level lower compact has seen an 8 per cent decrease.
“With the launch of Kushaq, we have witnessed unprecedented growth for Skoda Auto India. While Kushaq saw us conquer new territory with a mid-size SUV that represents the aspirations of modern India, Slavia, gets us back to our roots, as the brand that brought the original premium sedan to India,” Zac Hollis, Brand Director, Skoda Auto India said.
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