Skoda launches three new models in India

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on May 26, 2020

Rolls out SUV Karoq, new Rapid TSI and Superb sedan in first virtual launches amid Covid-19

Czech automaker Skoda Auto launched its new SUV in India, the Karoq, at an ex-showroom price of ₹24.99 lakh. In a virtual launch, Skoda also launched the new Rapid TSI and Superb sedan.

These three new launches are a demonstration of Skoda’s faith in the innate positivity of the Indian market, said Zac Hollis, Brand Director, Skoda Auto India. He was speaking from Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic, through a virtual press conference. “We are bullish about India. By 2025, we will be selling one lakh cars annually. This will make India one of the top five markets for Skoda Auto worldwide,” he said.

This is the first virtual launch or press conference in the history of Skoda Auto India, he added.

Skoda Auto India’s launches also mark one of the first launches by an automaker amid the coronavirus pandemic, which led to a strict lockdown across the country for almost two months.

Expanding geographical presence

Hollis said that for the first time in his three decades in the automotive industry, in the month of April 2020, zero cars were sold. “Never in recent memory has the world faced an extraordinary and unprecedented situation like this. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown everything out of gear and has completely upended all of the things we were familiar and comfortable with.”

At present, Skoda Auto has 80 dealerships across 65 cities in the country. By the end of 2025, it plans to expand its geographical presence to 150 cities with over 200 customer touch points, said Hollis.

The new Superb SportLine as well as the new Laurin & Klement are available at an introductory ex-showroom price of ₹29.99 lakh and ₹32.99 lakh respectively. The new RAPID 1.0 TSI is available at an introductory ex-showroom price of ₹7.49 lakh.

“In essence, we are confronted with two foreseeable challenges, one is operational and the other is sentimental,” said Hollis.

“The bigger challenge is to figure out how to battle the negative sentiments that have pulled the industry down over the past two years, which have now been further intensified by the Covid-19 effect. There is, however, a silver lining to these dark clouds, and that is the incurable optimism and the ambitions, the Indian customers’ aspiration for a better life. The industry draws its strengths from these powerful emotions,” he added.

According to the company, in the personal mobility space, Indians yearn for “uncompromising luxury and safety when it is offered to them at great value for their hard-earned money”, said Hollis.

Standard safety features

The Karoq is an integral part of the Czech marque’s model offensive strategy and SUV campaign in the subcontinent and is positioned at the top end of its segment, the company said. It will be available in six colour options, namely, candy white, magnetic brown, lava blue, magic black, brilliant silver, and quartz grey, across all authorised Skoda Auto dealership facilities in the country. The new 1.5 TSI engine, paired with an automatic seven speed DSG, delivers 150 PS of power, a peak torque output of 250 Nm, fuel efficiency of 16.95 kmpl (high phase WLTP), and a top speed of 202 km/h. With its Active Cylinder Technology, two of the four cylinders in the TSI powertrain are deactivated, in view of the power requirement.

The new Karoq comes loaded with a range of standard safety features, such as nine airbags: dual front airbags, side airbags at front and rear, driver knee airbag as well as curtain airbags at front and rear, which is a segment benchmark.

The Superb was introduced in 2004. The 2.0 TSI engine, mated with a seven speed DSG, is at the core of the new Superb range and is central to Skoda Auto’s BS-VI powertrain and fuel strategy, the company said. As for the new Rapid, the company’s 1.0 TSI engine is introduced with it. Introduced in 2011, the Rapid had marked Skoda Auto’s foray into the popular C segment in India.

Bookings for all the three models have been open since March. The launches, supposed to take place earlier, were delayed due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Published on May 26, 2020

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