Feb 7, 2009

Business - Skoda changing tacks to suit India, cheap cars likely soon

Skoda India, a part of the Volkswagen Group, is changing tack and one could soon see new cheaper small cars on Indian roads. Next week, the Skoda India management would be in the company's headquarters in Europe to discuss the nitty gritty of the new small car, as well as a way forward in India, where Skoda is number nine among car manufacturers.
"We believe that a better customer experience and a smaller car, where we can provide customers with an affordable Skoda and at the same time, generate volumes for the company is the way forward," said Thomas Kuehl, member of the board and India head, Skoda Auto. Though the company's leadership position in the C segment is firm with a 55 per cent marketshare, the overall sales figure have been seeing lukewarm growth.
The company sold 16,046 cars in 2008, up 32 per cent from 12,170 in 2007. In comparison, Honda Siel sold 50,468 cars as against 57,024, a drop of 11 per cent.
Kuehl says the solution is not to cut jobs, but to create a portfolio of products and customer service, which would push brand Skoda closer to the pockets of India's vast middle-class.


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