Czech automaker Skoda is lining up a new compact car Citigo for India, the small car originally planned for Europe. The company has not been able to crack the big volume compact car segment in India with the Fabia, and it now plans to launch new products in the lower-end of the market to corner higher numbers and market share.
“The Citigo, which is mainly a small car for Europe, also has a potential in a market like India,” Skoda Auto Global chairman Winfried Vahland said. Vahland, who was in India to oversee the production of the company's soon-to-be-launched entry sedan Rapid (based on parent Volkswagen’s Vento), said India is one of the key markets for the company globally, along with China and Russia. “We are very optimistic on the Indian market and expect growth rates between 10 percent and 20 percent in the coming years.”
The Citigo is one of the newest and the smallest cars in Skoda’s stable and will be launched in the Czech market in late 2011 and in Europe in the beginning of summer 2012. In line with the company’s positioning of a value-for money brand within the Volkswagen (VW) stable, the Citigo will be a cheaper alternative to parent VW’s Up!.
Vahland said when the Citigo makes an entry into India, it will be with the support of parent VW. “If it makes sense, we will do it together with the group.” Sources said the company will have common strategies and synergies with the VW Up! that is also expected to enter the market next year.
Vahland said the company is looking to give a substantial push to its sales in India. “The Rapid is the first model in this direction and it is the first car from the Skoda brand which has been designed, keeping in mind the special needs of Indian customers. It will be manufactured here.”
The Rapid will be launched in India in December and will compete with models like Nissan’s Sunny, Toyota’s Etios, Maruti’s Dzire, Ford’s Fiesta Classic and Tata’s Indigo Manza. It will be priced lower than Volkswagen Vento, whose price starts at Rs 7 Lakh. The model will be manufactured at Volkswagen’s Chakan factory.