Skoda Auto eyes double digit growth in 2023, to end this year with record sales of 50,000 units
With an aim to keep the portfolio fresh, Skoda plans to have three to five new product launches over 12 months, including facelifts, EVs and limited-edition models
For Volkswagen Group’s Skoda brand, India has become the third largest market in the world. It is therefore understandable that the Czech car maker Skoda Auto India is aiming to sustain the strong double digit growth momentum in 2023 led by slew of product interventions.
The maker of Slavia sedan and Kushaq SUV is set to end 2022 with sales of over 50,000 units, which is its highest ever annual sales since its inception. The plan is to sell over 60,000 units in 2023.
Sources say, with an all-new compact SUV slated only by 2025, the company will have to keep its portfolio vibrant. To that effect, Skoda plans to excite the market with at least three to five new product launches in the coming 12 months to sustain the traction for the brand.
Apart from introducing the model year changes in Kushaq and Slavia, the company will be introducing the Enyaq EV, the new Superb and some limited-edition models like Octavia RSV IV are being explored.
To be sure, its localised Superb and Octavia sedan are likely to be discontinued, but the company will not vacate the space and it will rely on completely knocked down units and completely built imports to cater to the demand in those segments.
Also, the company is expecting higher allocation for its top-of-the-line premium SUV Kodiaq in 2023, which will be able to capitalise on the strong demand in the high-end market.
Petr Solc, the Brand Director for Skoda Auto India who was part of the core team that defined the India 2.0 roadmap says the country has become a “very strong pillar” of growth for the HQ and that it will continue to grow its strategic importance in the region as an export’s hub.
A promising future
Solc says, despite the disruption of covid over the last few years, India has bounced back impressively, much faster than many of the markets.
“We have immense confidence in the Indian economy and its strength and with our localised portfolio, we aim to participate in this strong growth story. We would be growing the volumes towards 50,000 cars in 2022 and with two fully localised models available for the entire year. we would like to grow in double digits in 2023,” added Solc.
While the volumes have doubled in the last one year, the company has struggled to supply vehicles in the marketplace.
Solc says, the volatility on monthly volumes is largely linked to supply side challenges, however there is an improvement expected in the coming months.
“The supply situation looks better in November and December and even in Q12023, so our plan is to regain the momentum. The number of bookings is exceeding the production and the demand momentum is strong. We could have sold 2,000 more cars in the previous month, but that got added to bookings. With improved chip supplies we hope to deliver more cars,” he assured.
While Skoda Auto has a fresh range of products in the market, lack of alternate powertrain beyond petrol in the internal combustion engine, reduces the growth potential. While the parent VW Group has given up on diesel, the options of hybrids, electric and CNG are being well capitalised by the rivals.
When queried by Autocar India on the potential of bringing in alternate powertrains, Solc explained Skoda is not saying “no to any opportunity,” as long as it makes “commercial sense”.
“We do have hybrids, EVs in our portfolio in Europe, we are exploring what to bring where. Hybrids are bought in some markets as a bridge, but in some markets, we are directly moving to EVs. The potential volumes define the business case, it has to make commercial sense. The market like India is fast evolving towards electrification. In terms of investment, we prefer to move straight to EVs,” he added.
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