Skoda Auto CEO pleased with India 2.0 progress

Murali Gopalan | Updated on: Oct 11, 2018

Bernhard Maier says things are on track

Bernhard Maier was all smiles at the Paris Motor Show last week while driving home the point that India 2.0 was on track.

“We are not in the starting point any more but already in the water. We are swimming and on the move,” reiterated the CEO of Skoda Auto. “Today, everything is on schedule and we will be there by end-2020 and beginning of 2021.”

India 2.0 will see Skoda leading a project where the sub-compact MQB AO platform will roll out competitively-priced products for the market from both the VW and Skoda brands. These are being specially developed for the needs of customers in India.

Asked about team realignment in this new structure, Maier said things were progressing well. “We are on the way to really becoming more and more one team. It is not something that we can achieve overnight. It will take its time but we are on a very good development and I am convinced that we will manage that (realignment),” he elaborated.

Maier stressed that Skoda was an international company with “diversity in our blood”. He said he was looking forward to having a very powerful team, which can sit together and do brainstorming. “We are on a good path,” he added.

The Skoda CEO admitted that these were not the easiest of times for the global automobile industry with trade wars, high fuel prices etc. “We are living in a paradigm change in the entire industry and it is a big challenge,” he said.

According to Maier, the most difficult reality to reckon with was that there are different requirements in different parts of the world. Hence, coming up with a global car is becoming more and more difficult.

“We have to nationalise the cars to the very distinctive environments of each and every region. There are different velocities in different regions. When we talk about the two main areas of energy in 2025 — e-mobility and connectivity — it is quite distinctive in how we can see developments in all parts of the world,” explained Maier.

Yet, despite these headwinds, what gives motivation to companies like Skoda is that “we are not only facing all these challenges and getting to know all the new requirements in development and innovation but we are preparing them”.

As Maier put it, Skoda could “really dream and think forward”. He admitted that it was challenging for sure but “equally motivating” thanks to the wonderful team comprising 35,000 men and women working with all their passion and dedication.

“This is why we have been able to come up with the biggest product update the company has seen when we come up with 20 new models, of which nine will be electrified and the new cars for India are not counted in this list,” signed off an upbeat Maier.

Published on October 11, 2018
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