Skoda prioritises India project over US entry

24th Oct 2017 1:19 pm

Carmaker delays US launch assessment to lead low-cost car platform development for VW Group in India.

Skoda’s CEO Bernhard Maier had earlier said that the company was investigating the opportunity for a US launch and was to complete its assessment by the end of this year. The company, with its clean image in the region, was to lead the sales in light of the VW Dieselgate scandal.

However, its US plan has been delayed as it takes the lead from VW in India over the development of a low-cost car platform for the country.

We had reported in September 2017 that Skoda is looking to develop a low-cost 'Eco' platform for India, which is essentially a re-engineered version of the VW Group’s MQB platform.

“We will need more time to work on the US plans now,” said Maier. “The Group has asked us to lead development of a platform with a strong focus on India and to investigate building that business sustainably and in a predictable manner.

“That is a huge task, and we must always approach projects one step at a time. There is no hurry to rush into the US and no deadline to even decide if we should be looking to go there. There’s no need to make a decision right away.”

At present, Skoda is said to be assessing whether the VW Group’s MQB A0 platform – used on cars like the new VW Polo – could form the basis for a low-cost vehicle, although Maier has hinted forging another joint venture is possible if it makes more sense financially. If it chooses to launch on its own platform, VW faces having to set up the entire manufacturing infrastructure in India.

Once established in India, insiders expect the low-cost car to be launched in South America and the Middle East. 

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In conversation with Steffen Knapp Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars

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