Skoda will be launching 4 new models in 2017, including the Kodiaq SUV, Octavia RS and Rapid face-lift. The company has also introduced a number of measures to improve after-sales services.
Skoda has been present in the Indian car market for close to a decade-and-a-half now, and while it got off to a flying start things haven't been quite as good off late. In order to remedy the situation, and alter the perception that it's after-sales service costs are prohibitive, the Czech automaker has come up with some serious, and aggressive, tactics to regain some lost ground - this includes launching new products, improving after-sales services and offering cost-effective maintenance packages to customers.
By the end of financial year 2016-17, Skoda will be bringing the much-anticipated Kodiaq SUV (see a peek into Skoda's ambitious SUV strategy here) to our shores, followed by the performance oriented Octavia RS sedan. Between the launch of these two models, the company will also drive in the Octavia Black Edition and face-lifted Rapid Monte Carlo edition in our market by next year.
Skoda’s product range, however, has always been strong. Its after-sales and service, on the other hand, have constantly remained one of its major shortcomings in India. Skoda is now ready to make amends on this front, as it's announced a number of measures to improve customer satisfaction. A 4 year/100,000-kilometer warranty will now be offered as standard on all Skoda cars, while roadside assistance for unlimited kilometres for the first 4 years of ownership will also be free. In addition, Skoda claims that if a car is not serviced (periodic maintenance) and returned the same day, or if customers don’t get itemized bills for the repair/maintenance work, the whole service bill will be borne by the company. Additionally, Skoda has also announced that ABS will be offered as standard on all of its cars by the end of 2017.
Skoda India’s website now has a service cost indicator, along with itemized costs of consumables/parts - so as to make maintenance and service as transparent as possible for the end user. The company has also launched the MySkoda app that will allow customers to book service/repair appointments, access the service history of the car, etc. As per Skoda, the company will be spending over 100 crores in improving its sales and service network across the country.
Can all of this help Skoda change its fortunes in the Indian market? Well, that's something only time will tell. But given its aggressive road-map for the Indian market, it seems that Skoda is poised to make up for some lost ground.