Skoda Auto India today unveiled its first model under the ‘India 2.0’ revival strategy and the midsized crossover which was christened Skoda Kushaq on January 7, is out in the flesh albeit in camouflaged form.
The new crossover, which is built on Skoda’s MQB-A0-IN platform aims to cater to the India-specific requirements of design, quality, roominess, equipment, dynamics, efficiency, safety and comfort. The all-new Skoda Kushaq will be made in India at Skoda’s plant in Aurangabad, Maharashtra and also be exported to strategic right-hand-drive markets around the world.
While the company has only revealed the car in a camouflaged form, it says that it has a wheelbase of 2,651mm to offer generous amount of interior space, and rival competition products such as the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos – which are the segment bestsellers.
According to Thomas Schaeffer, CEO, Skoda Auto, “With the new Skoda Kushaq, begins a new era for Skoda Auto on the Indian subcontinent. It’s the region where we oversee all Volkswagen Group activities within the scope of the India 2.0 project. The Kushaq marks the start of a model offensive consisting of four new Skoda and Volkswagen mid-size models. All of these vehicles will be based on the MQB-A0-IN version of the Modular Transverse Matrix, which Skoda Auto has specifically adapted to meet the needs of the Indian market. I’m very confident that this model will convince our Indian customers.”
Showcased at the Auto Expo 2020 as the Skoda Vision IN Concept, the company says that the sophisticated new design language of the crossover is influenced by traditional Indian art and architecture. The SUV will boast of a silhouette which is sleek despite its large and rugged appearance.
As per Skoda, the Kushaq promises to bring a new level of visual appeal on the roads. The lighting will add to the character of the crossover, with ample use of LEDs in both headlamps, DRLs and tail lamps.
Turbocharged stratified injection
With the VW Group completely moving away from diesels in the BS VI regime in the Indian market, the Kushaq will offer choice of two turbocharged stratified injection (TSI) petrol engines. A 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder motor will be on offer, mated to either a manual, automatic and DSG transmission options.
In terms of connectivity, the car will offer a powerful suite of connectivity features too that enhance the overall driving experience. There will be a central touch infotainment screen along with comfort features like automatic air conditioning.
Safety being a key aspect for Skoda, the company says that there will be a host of active and passive safety as well as driver aids on offer. Up to six airbags, standard ESC and options like hill-hold control and TPMS are going to be top safety offerings.
High on localisation
The cars planned as a part of the India 2.0 project aim for a high localisation level of up to 95 percent, with technical development taking place at Skoda Auto Volkswagen India’s state-of-the-art Technology Centre at Pune, opened in January 2019. A team of 250 local engineers have played a major role in the development of the MQB-A0-IN and contributed to the development of the platform. Their wealth of technological expertise and detailed knowledge of the local market allow for a more targeted, flexible and much faster response to changing customer needs. By 2025, Skoda Auto and Volkswagen aim to achieve a combined market share of five per cent in India, depending on market and segment development.
Volkswagen Group is investing a total of one billion euros in the project, including 275 million euros in research and development of SUVs and cars. The Czech brand is also orchestrating the activities of Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini in India. Almost, 30 models in total meet the requirements of various market segments and budgets.
According to Gurpratap Boparai, managing director, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India,“The introduction of the all-new Skoda Kushaq marks the first of several launches as part of the India 2.0 project. Developed in India with the sophisticated, demanding consumer requirements in mind, the forthcoming launches on the India-specific MQB A0-IN platform is a matter of pride for us. Skoda Kushaq has been built using extensive on-ground intelligence and has been localised to offer tremendous value without any compromise in our legendary quality.”