Czech car-maker Skoda may start exporting cars manufactured in India to global markets in future, starting with its new Rapid sedan slated to hit the roads on November 16.
A part of auto conglomerate Volkswagen, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Skoda Auto India expects the Rapid to become its best-selling car in the country, surpassing compact car Fabia’s numbers.
“This car is specifically designed for India and the launch will be the global launch for the car. At a later stage, it may be introduced in different markets across the world,” Skoda Auto India Marketing Head Tarun Jha said. The company will sell the car specifically in the Indian market and is betting big on the model, he added.
“We have not decided anything about the exports yet as the car is meant for the domestic market. However, we may export the Rapid to some neighbouring countries later,” Jha said without sharing details. The company currently does not export any of its models from India, he added.
Talking about sales, Jha said: “It may become the best-selling car for us in India. It may be a game changer for us.” He said the company’s current best-selling car is Fabia. It sells about 1,200-1,500 Fabia units every month. Skoda Auto India Board Member (Sales and Marketing) Thomas Kuehl said: “We will compete against the Honda for the petrol variant of Rapid, while it will be Hyundai for the diesel variant.“
The company is also increasing its dealership network to meet the possible increased demand of the Rapid. “Currently we have 82 dealerships and it will be increased to about 100 by the end of this year. Next year, we will add another 20 outlets,” Jha said. The company will target mainly Tier-II and III cities for expansion of its dealership network, he added.
Earlier this month, Skoda Auto had announced that it would start production of its entry-level sedan Rapid from the VW Group’s Chakan plant, near Pune.
Skoda also produces its compact car Fabia at the plant. The Chakan plant was set up by Volkswagen, which manufactures models such as the Polo and Vento. It has invested 580 million euros on the plant, which has an annual production capacity of 1.1 lakh units.