Skoda Auto India, which is leading the Volkswagen Group's 'India 2.0' growth strategy, unveiled the Vision IN SUV concept. The midsize SUV (over 4.2 metres), slated for market launch during Q2 of 2021, will have the responsibility to be the Czech brand's volume driver while its German cousin on the same platform, Taigun will have to do the job for Volkswagen. In an exclusive interaction Zack Hollis director–sales,service and marketing, Skoda Auto India talks about Skoda's market strategy for India, with the Vision IN, and more.
Skoda Auto has been in India for 20 years now. Though it has become a familiar name, but volumes haven't been great yet. Vision IN will have to make the Skoda brand more accessible, isn't it?
Of course, because with this car we are competing in the mid-sized SUV segment. The big advantage with this car is it will be upto 95% localised. By doing this, we will be able to make it competitive and by making it competitive, we can also grow the volume.
You mentioned about trebling marketing investments in India during your presentation. How soon do you expect to do it? What was the marketing investment figure during the last 3 years?
Over the next three years. Can’t share the absolute numbers but based on the amount we spent in marketing over the past three years, we aim to treble that amount over the next three years. We will get significantly more exposure for our brand, much more awareness and build our image, particularly in cities in India where we have not been present thus far with dealers before. We are present in 70 cities. But there are another 70-80 cities where we do not have dealerships. Once we get dealers in those cities, we will invest in marketing in those cities to build awareness pan India.
When can we expect a sub-4 metre Skoda model?
I think this is the discussion happening now. I told you in my presentation that we are keen on bringing in more cars in India. Obviously the sub-4 m SUV and sub-4 m hatchback market are very big in India and if you are going to grow then we definitely need presence in these segments. But we will bring further products in India and sub-4 m is an important area to look at.
Right now you are present in 70 cities and 85 touch points, how much do you look at increasing it?
We plan to increase it to 150 cities and 200 touchpoints. 150 cities with a purchasing power that warrants a dealership. We have done a demographic study and we want to be present in all 150 cities.
Will Skoda continue to be an urban brand with focus mainly on big cities, or would it look at semi-urban/rural- in short emerging markets within India?
We are currently focusing on these 150 cities that has adequate purchasing power for the car segments we are competing in currently. But if we move down the market, and compete in the sub-4 metre segment, then perhaps it opens up more potential markets/cities in India.
Zac Hollis: "Vision IN aims to make the Skoda brand more accessible because with this car we are competing in the midsized SUV segment."
Also read: Volkswagen Group's 2+2 approach to gain 5% market share in India