Skoda Auto India today announced its new powertrain strategy for India as it enters the regime of BS VI emission norms that mandate all carmakers to conform to the latest emission standards in the country.
Just like a lot of other players in the market, the Czech carmaker too has completely given up on diesel engine technology, which was one of its key strengths in its model line-up in the country so far.
In a virtual press conference today, the company launched two model updates, a brand new SUV and alongside revealed the new powertrain solutions.
Going forward, Skoda will rely on the VW Group’s much acclaimed ‘TSI’ or turbocharged stratified injection – a gasoline direct engine technology – which will be its mainstay and power the entire vehicle portfolio on offer in India.
Five-pronged TSI tech
Elaborating upon the TSI technology in detail, Zac Hollis, director, Sales, Service and Marketing, Skoda Auto India, mentioned that there are five main elements to it and further explained each of those in detail:
Turbocharging – It increases the density of intake air into the engine.
Intercooling – Lowers the temperature of the intake air to reduce the possibility of detonation or knocking inside the engine.
Compactness – The engine uses cast-alloy aluminium for the cylinder block construction and forged connecting rods to reduce friction.
Fuel-stratified injection – New six-port injectors that directly spray fuel into the combustion chamber.
Active cylinder management - Allows up to two cylinders to get deactivated depending upon the power requirements to aid fuel efficiency.
Skoda said three new TSI engines will be its primary powertrain solutions for India. These include a 1.0-litre three-cylinder motor, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.
Two minor model updates
Taking the opportunity, the company also introduced facelift of its entry-level model in India, the C-segment Skoda Rapid and as well as that of the popular D-segment Skoda Superb sedan.
While the new Rapid will be powered by the 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI motor, developing 108bhp of power and 175Nm of torque, it will come mated to a six-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG option. Skoda claims fuel efficiency upwards of 19kpl for the Rapid TSI.
It must be noted that the erstwhile Rapid offered a 1.6-litre petrol as well as a 1.5-litre diesel engine options as well. The new Rapid, which will compete with the new Hyundai Verna and the upcoming Honda City, now starts at Rs 7.49 lakh, ex-showroom, India.
The new Skoda Superb, on the other hand, will be driven by the 1.5-litre four-cylinder TSI engine, coupled only to a 7-speed DSG. The company has introduced the 2020 Superb facelift at prices starting from Rs 29.9 lakh, ex-showroom, India.
New CBU launched: Karoq
Replacing its midsized luxury SUV, Skoda Kodiaq, Skoda Auto India introduced the all-new Skoda Karoq in the country at prices starting from Rs 24.9 lakh, ex-showroom, India.
The Karoq, which offers typical European Skoda styling will boast key elements such as sharp body lines, LED headlamps with distinguishable ‘eyelashes’, new Skoda lettering on the boot, flanked by signature LED tail-lamps on either side.
On the inside, it offers a wide cabin, 10-programmable LED mood lighting settings, a 20.32cm touchscreen infotainment system, electronically adjustable driver’s seat as well as a panoramic sunroof.
The company says that the new Skoda Karoq will be powered by the 2.0-litre four-cylinder EU6 TSI motor that develops 148bhp and 250Mn of torque. The engine will come mated to a 7-speed DSG.
The Karoq, which will come as a CBU will offer safety features such as nine airbags, ESC, ASR and EDS among the host of other technologies on offer. With its active cylinder management technology, the bulky SUV still manages to offer claimed fuel efficiency upwards of 14kpl.
Zac Hollis: "We aim to further entice the car buyers with exciting finance options and it is our endeavour to minimise the Initial cost of acquisition."
New era of contactless retail
While the entire automotive industry is looking at tough times ahead owing to weakened buyer sentiment which has been the resultant of the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Skoda Auto India is looking at ways to revive the market.
According to Hollis, “There are two major challenges at this point – operational and sentimental. The negative sentiment already prevalent in the automotive industry has now been further intensified by Covid-19.”
The introduction of its refreshed and new models today is a step in that direction, which, on the retail front is being further strengthened by the introduction of its contactless retail programme – Skoda Buy Online – to ensure safety and health remains the top priority.
The company has integrated 80 of its dealerships across 65 cites to undertake online bookings of new cars, and subsequently reach out to prospective customers, offering them a fully-digital car-buying experience, which is being enabled by high-tech software solutions from companies such as Orbitsys.
Alongside, the digital sales and aftersrales initiatives, the Czech carmaker is also offering alluring finance schemes to offset to minimise the initial cost of acquisition for customers in these times of uncertainty.
“Despite the trying times, we can observe that the Indian customer continues to aspire for exciting cars and is keen to upgrade to new models in the market. We aim to further entice the car buyers with exciting finance options and it is our endeavour to minimise the Initial cost of acquisition,” he added.
Hollis announced some lucrative schemes such as ‘Buy now pay in Diwali’ offer and an assured 57 percent buy back on the Superb after 36 months of usage. The company has also lined up special benefits for listed companies, leasing partners and PSUs.
125 years of Skoda and India 2.0
2020, which is going to mark the 125th anniversary of the Skoda brand’s global existence, will also see its Indian arm take significant steps with the India 2.0 Strategy.
Skoda Auto India is on-target to expand its footprint to 200 touch-points across 150 cities by next year and target 100,000 annual sales by 2025, to be ranked among the Top 5 markets for the company globally.
“We will leave no stone unturned to ensure the success of our new offerings in India. We are highly optimistic and ambitious about the Indian market,” concluded Hollis.