Skoda to take driver’s seat in Volkswagen group’s journey in India

New Delhi: German automobile major Volkswagen group today announced a major rejig in plans for the Indian operations giving group firm Skoda the responsibility for the market here. Under its ‘India 2.0’ project, all models designed and produced locally in the future will be based on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and Skoda Auto will launch a volume segment model based on sub-compact MQB A0 platform by 2020, Skoda Auto said in a statement.

Further, the project will be headed by Skoda Auto India Managing Director Gurpratap Boparai, it added.”Volkswagen Group has tasked us with this responsibility, thereby highlighting the level of trust that Volkswagen Group’s management places in the expertise of the Skoda team,” Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said.

About 18 months ago, Skoda Auto was tasked with developing a sustainable model campaign for both Skoda and Volkswagen brands in the Indian volume segments. “Preparations for the India-based development and production of the new, technologically pioneering volume models for the Skoda and Volkswagen brands are already in full swing. The introduction of the first Skoda model based on the A0-IN platform is scheduled for 2020,” the company said.

Maier said,”We are firmly convinced that – after one and a half years of intensive work – together with Volkswagen we now have a suitable approach to bring the right vehicles into the Indian market at the right time.”  According to a company official, Skoda Auto will be responsible for production of the group’s vehicles in India under both Skoda and Volkswagen (VW) brands. VW will, however, continue to be responsible for production of its own models such as Polo and Vento among others till the end of lifecycle of these products.

Last year in March, VW group had announced entering into a long-term partnership with Tata Motors for joint development of products with the first rollout expected in 2019. Skoda Auto was to take the lead on behalf of the Volkswagen Group to drive forward work towards development of vehicle concepts in the economy segment. However, the proposed partnership was called off in August due to feasibility issues.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen Group had said that is evaluating various options for the Indian market, including fresh investments of EUR 1 billion for a completely new product range in the country.The VW group has various brands including – Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda – in the Indian market. On a standalone basis, VW also sells a range of models including Polo, Ameo and Vento here. The company currently has an installed capacity to manufacture 2 lakh cars annually in a three-shift system from its plant in Chakan, Pune. The facility rolls out products from both VW and Skoda stables.

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