Skoda and Volkswagen Group India today inaugurated a new Technology Center in Pune. The opening ceremony was attended by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and other government officials. On behalf of the Volkswagen Group, Skoda is leading the ‘India 2.0’ project, which sets out the Volkswagen Group’s model campaign on the Indian market.
At the new Technology Center, 250 engineers will be developing vehicles tailored to the needs of customers in the subcontinent. Products developed under the India 2.0 project will achieve up to 95% localisation.
The India Technology Centre will be responsible for project management, electronics, infotainment, body design, interior, chassis and complete vehicle. The first concept is to be out at Auto Expo 2020.
Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said at the opening ceremony: “I am delighted that Skoda Auto is expanding its presence and involvement in India with such significant investments and promising projects. The fact that Skoda is creating great opportunities for the high potential market here in India demonstrates the long-term strategy of the brand.”
Christian Strube - Member of the Board for Technical Development, Skoda Auto, said: "By opening the Technology Center, we underline our determination to make the India 2.0 project a success. India has excellent universities and highly qualified staff; this state-of-the-art facility will help us to unlock that huge potential – especially with regard to design and development. Local development is the key to success.”
The Technology Center in Chakan (Pune), represents the first major step in implementing the ‘India 2.0’ project. The Volkswagen Group and Skoda Auto are jointly investing around Rs 2,000 crore (Euro 250 million) in research and development projects in India. The Indian engineers will be responsible for project management, electronics, infotainment, body design, interior, chassis and complete vehicle.
Gurpratap Boparai, Head – Volkswagen Group India, said: “The Technology Center will lay the foundation for the development of products that are specially designed for Indian market. We expect to roll out the first products, for both the Skoda as well Volkswagen brands, by 2020-21, starting with a midsized SUV based on the MQB A0 IN platform. A model campaign, led by Skoda, will follow. I am convinced that we can use all the strengths of Skoda to the great benefit of the entire Volkswagen Group.”
While Škoda will showcase the India-spec SUV in concept form first, the production-ready version will get styling cues from the Škoda Vision X concept. A production version of this new SUV for European markets will be showcased at the Geneva Motor show in March 2019.
Approximately 250 engineers will be working at the new Technology Center. Ninety-five percent of the vehicle components for the localised MQB A0 platform will be manufactured locally. The vehicles developed in India will meet the same core standards for safety, quality and design that the Volkswagen Group represents worldwide. At the same time, both Skoda and Volkswagen will be showcasing models with their own typical characteristics on the market.
Eyeing CNG car market
There's a big scope for Volkswagen India in the CNG vehicle space, if stated plans (of the government to expand distribution network) get executed. "We are watching the space with great interest. The market image of CNG also has to improve," said Gurpratap Boparai. Volkswagen has a TGI range of engines.
In July 2018, the Volkswagen Group confirmed Rs 7,900 crore (1 billion euros) investment in the ‘India 2.0’ project, which will primarily be used in developing Skoda Auto and Volkswagen vehicles for the Indian market. The first of these models will be a midsize SUV in the A0 segment, which will be unveiled in 2020.
Also read: Volkswagen India bets on CNG over electric