Klaus Zellmer, CEO, Skoda Auto: We are Committed to the Indian Market

We speak to Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Skoda Auto, about Skoda’s plans for India and what the future holds for the brand in the Indian market.

By Ishan Raghava | on July 9, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

Over the past few years, Skoda has been making headlines in the Indian market. With a significant investment in its India operations and the introduction of a global platform that’s produced locally – the MQB A0-IN – the brand has enjoyed some success with its localised products. Both the Kushaq SUV and the Slavia sedan, along with their VW counterparts, have seen some sales success in the market. However, widespread acceptance of the brand and higher sales numbers remain somewhat elusive. In a long, candid conversation with us in Prague, Klaus Zellmer, the Global CEO of the brand, discussed a number of topics, including the brand’s future in India, the search for a local partner, and the importance of the Indian market to Skoda globally.

Market Realisations

Despite investing $2 billion in introducing the MQB A0-IN platform and achieving almost complete localisation, Skoda has not achieved the desired sales results. The future strategy, for now, seems to be two-pronged. Firstly, Skoda is planning to introduce a larger product portfolio in the Indian market. This includes introducing a brand-new smaller sub-4-metre SUV sometime next year to widen their line-up and continue with the Superb and Kodiaq. The Kushaq and Slavia are also set for a mid-life facelift very soon. Additionally, there is a strong possibility that the Octavia VRS will return to India very soon. Our review of the latest version will be available very soon.

CEO of Skoda Auto - Klaus Zellmer

Secondly, Skoda is actively seeking a local partner to better explore the Indian market. During the conversation, Zellmer emphasised that the company might be missing a trick, having spent 20 years in the market without gaining a significant market share. He said, ‘India is crucial to the growth strategy of Skoda Auto as we bring our broadest and most up-to-date product portfolio ever to customers. India has a huge potential, reflected by the fact that we have more than doubled our sales since 2021. Our development and manufacturing base in Pune allows us to springboard into ASEAN and the Middle East.

Also Read: Skoda Kushaq Onyx Automatic Variant Launched in India at Rs 13.49 Lakh

The capabilities we have built in India, for India, and related export capacity are helping us achieve new international sales beyond Europe. Soon we will add a new, locally developed model to our lineup in India in the important compact SUV segment. At the same time, we are also considering other models for Indian consumers, including rigorous testing of our popular all-electric Enyaq in the country. EV penetration in India is expected to grow to between 15% – 30%, and our global strategy is to offer customers the best of both worlds –  electric and highly efficient combustion powertrains.’

With a mix of new products, an enhanced line-up, and both ICE and EV offerings, Skoda seems to be bullish about its prospects in India and achieving its stated goal of 5% market share by 2030. That said, it seems that for Skoda, finding a local partner in India seems to be the key to unlocking the market’s full potential. In the meantime, the brand will continue to offer global-level products to Indian consumers.

Tags: Skoda Skoda Auto

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