Co to `Elegance' variant of Skoda Laura at sub Rs 15- lakh price

Mayur N. Shah

Mumbai, Sept. 5

Skoda will soon join the bandwagon of auto players who are giving facelifts to some of their existing product range. Skoda Auto India would introduce changes to its Octavia range, said company officials.

The product range will undergo a major change in the interior aesthetics of the vehicle, while minor cosmetic changes will be made to the exterior look of the vehicle; headlamps and tail lamps are likely to get a new look, they said.

The company is also keen on introducing the `Elegance' variant of Skoda Laura. The new base model is likely to be introduced at a price of sub Rs 15- lakh (ex-showroom price, Mumbai); currently the Laura variant is available at Rs 16.35 lakh.

These product upgrades will be introduced by March 2007, officials said.

Features of the new variant

The new variant will be sans features such as the sunroof, electric heating system for seats and the six air bags deployed in the car. It will instead have two airbags primarily for the driver and the co-driver only. The absence of these features brings down the cost of the vehicle considerably (Rs 1.5-2 lakh), said an official.

The introduction of the facelift for Octavia is a timely one. The vehicle has been in the market for five years (since 2001) and with new models (Honda Civic) being introduced in the market, Octavia's looks were no longer contemporary and needed a much-desired makeover, experts said.

According to sources, the entry of the Laura Elegance may see the discontinuation of the existing Octavia (L&K) model, as the former would be a better value-for-money proposition. The L&K Octavia is in the same price bracket (Rs 15 lakh) as that of the Elegance Laura model.

The two models (Octavia and Laura) have been quite successful and have posted record sales of 1,000-plus units in August 2006.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 6, 2006)
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