Following the official announcement of the ‘India 2.0’ project earlier this month, Skoda is all set to take charge of the Volkswagen Group’s India operations. A key part of the ambitious India 2.0 project will be establishing an engineering centre in India to locally develop products for both the Skoda and Volkswagen brands.
Skoda has roped in Gordon Calder, formerly from Tata Motors, to head Skoda’s Engineering Centre in Pune. Calder’s appointment as vice-president and head of engineering is significant as Skoda has appointed an outsider for this key role and not someone from within the Volkswagen Group. “We needed someone who has good experience dealing with suppliers and understands the manufacturing ecosystem in India,” said a source.
Calder comes with significant India experience, having worked in Tata Motors since 2012. He led the body engineering team of Tata Motors’ passenger car division and was responsible for developing the Bolt, Zest, Tiago, Tigor and Nexon. Calder moved to a strategy role in 2016 and was briefly responsible for product planning of the company’s SUV portfolio, until he left the company a few months ago.
Prior to Tata Motors, Calder has had stints all over the world with supplier EDAG, Ford and Nissan, primarily as a body engineer. Skoda will be counting on Calder’s expertise to tailor the Volkswagen Group’s MQB-A0-IN platform to meet local requirements and stringent costs targets, which is essential for the success of the India 2.0 project.
The Czech car maker has committed an investment of one billion euros (Rs 7,900 crore) for India 2.0, which will be used towards increase manufacturing capacity, localising powertrains and developing an all-new product range. The first products from Skoda’s rebooted operations are expected in 2020.
Calder clearly has a lot on his plate.