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The Volkswagen Group has recently reorganized itself in India and the operations part will now be under Skoda India as the brand unveils its India 2.0 strategy. This strategy will see the brand launching a slew of cars in the Indian market. Since a long time the Czech maker had been absent from the headlines as far as the affordable segment was concerned. Come 2021, the company will launch two all-new affordable segment cars in the Indian market. The first will be the Kamiq compact SUV that will lock horns with the likes of Hyundai Creta in India and the second will be a C-Segment sedan that will lock horns with the likes of Honda City and will be the replacement of Rapid in India. The upcoming sedan will be based on the cost effective MQB A0 platform that the brand has been working on for developing markets like India and Brazil.
Zac Hollis, the director of sales and marketing for Skoda India spoke about the upcoming sedan and the shift of the brand from diesel engines:
The world premiere for the SUV in India is slated to happen in 2020, and customers can start buying it in early 2021. Then, right at the end of 2021, we will launch the notchback. The market is moving more towards petrol. In fact, Europe has transitioned to petrol very quickly. It surprised everybody. In fact, it’s causing big problems as we have a shortage of petrol engines across all of our production facilities. So, I can see India also moving towards petrol as the cost of upgrading diesel engines to BS6 is very expensive. Other competitors are doing it too. But you’ll see a significant rise in prices of diesel cars as we move forward. And that’s going to reduce the market for diesel even more, because the business case for buying a diesel will only become weaker. We have hybrids in Europe, and we will introduce the tech in the Superb and Octavia too. But there’s not enough capacity for the demand in Europe. So, it’s unlikely that we will bring the hybrids into India. But, instead, we are seriously considering CNG. The government has also put their money behind CNG in the short to medium term. For the long term, they’re investing in electric vehicles like most markets. The government has also confirmed that it will increase the number of CNG filling stations from 1,400 to 10,000. When that happens, and when brands like Skoda start introducing CNG options, the market acceptance of CNG will also go up. All manufacturers have to meet average CO2 emissions as per the CAFE Norms, in 2022-23 and to do that, we will need to look at alternative fuel technology. We have no choice.”
So as is clear from the statement above, the Czech maker is moving away from diesels in India and it may consider the CNG option in the future. As far as the upcoming cars are concerned, they may come with a 1L, 3-pot turbo petrol engine rated for 110 Bhp and 200 Nm, and the top models may be offered with a 1.5L 4-pot turbo petrol engines, but nothing is confirmed as of now.
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