Skoda India grows 15% in H1 2017, introduces Octavia facelift at Rs 1,549,000

The setup has been designed to please aesthetically, and to offer better illumination, while being more energy efficient and long lasting at the same time.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 13 Jul 2017 Views icon5223 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Skoda India grows 15% in H1 2017, introduces Octavia facelift at Rs 1,549,000

Czech carmaker which posted growth of 15 percent in the year until now, and today, launched the new Octavia, bringing in a host of feature changes and styling updates on the car. 

Launched first, in the year 2001 in the country, the Octavia has cumulatively sold 90,000 units in India, with the recent 3rd-generation being brought to the shores in 2013.

The car contributed 40 percent to the total sales of the company in FY2016, and now receives a facelift, which has been priced between Rs 14,49,405 for the petrol Ambition 1.4-litre TSI MT, to Rs 22,89,573 for the top-end Style Plus 2.0-litre TDI automatic, both prices being ex-showroom, and being uniform across the country, owing to GST.

Exterior Updates

The most striking exterior change on the refreshed Octavia is a new pair of Quadra LED headlamps upfront, which also boast of a ‘CrystalGlo’ DRL function. The lights get an Adaptive Front Light System (AFLS) funcition, which changes light geometry and switches on the headlights, based on assessment of external light conditions. This is also assisted by the cornering fog lamps, which operate in conjunction with the steering movement.

The setup has been designed to please aesthetically, and to offer better illumination, while being more energy efficient and long lasting at the same time.

The LED treatment continues at the back as well, with Skoda’s signature ‘C’ illumination pattern making its way into the tail lamps. The rear bumper also gets a slight design tweak with the new car. 

Interior add-ons

The car gets a bigger brand-new 8-inch ‘Amundsen’ infotainment system, utilising a capacitative screen, offering smooth touch response. The unit gets built-in navigation, and connectivity options including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink, as well as BossConnect, to pair smart devices through the Skoda Media Command application.

The car also gets interior mood lighting, and offers 10 colour options for illumination in the foot-wells and around the door handles.

Enhanced safety

The company has included the car with top-notch contemporary safety systems, which have been introduced in the segment for the very first time in the Indian market. The new Octavia gets an iBuzz driver fatigue alert system, which evaluates steering wheel inactivity and prompts the driver to take rest by displaying a warning sign on the instrument cluster. Then, there is the Automated Parking function, which would make the car park all by itself in tight places.

The Octavia also gets Multi-Collision Braking System (MCBS), which applies brakes to mitigate a situation of multiple impacts in an accident and there is the presence of hill-hold control and a total of 8-airbags, including front side and rear side airbags.

Engine line-up

The new Octavia has been brought in with three engine options, including a 1.4-litre TSI petrol unit, churning out 148bhp of power, and being only mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The bigger 1.8-litre TSI motor, produces 178bhp, and comes only with a 7-speed DSG transmission, and lastly, there’s a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine on offer, which is rated to deliver 141bhp of peak power and comes with options of either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG transmission.

Strong market growth

Skoda is experiencing a relatively joyous time in the Indian market, with sales soaring by 15 percent in the first half of CY2017, with the Q1 FY2018 report card being extremely positive at 3,454 units (+22.48 percent). All this is on the back of the refreshed Superb sedan launched in February 2016 and the Rapid facelift, been brought in November last year.

After the Octavia facelift, which took some 2.5 years of development time, the company is now gearing up to introduce one of its most anticipated models yet in the Indian market, the Kodiaq SUV, which has already received rave reviews globally.

Speaking to Autocar Professional, Ashutosh Dixit, director, sales, service & marketing, Skoda Auto India, “Backed by a fresh line-up of cars, the company is targeting a cumulative 30 percent growth in FY2018, which would mean brining up 45 percent growth in just H2 of this calendar itself.”

Octavia RS in the pipeline

While the company could have used this opportunity to also bring in the souped-up RS (Rally Sport) version of the car, which is already on sale internationally, Skoda India has reserved that launch for a later day and will be bringing it in H2 of CY2017. The RS offers re-tuned engines, producing more power, stiffened suspension setup, and a sportier all-black interior theme to complement the car.

Focus on improving brand perception

The company has faced a serious issue of brand perception in the Indian market, with customers shying away, fearing lack of reliability, customer support and callous dealer attitude.

“We have invested Rs 100 crore in the last 18 months, in collaboration with our dealers and we have invested in improving not just the physical layout, but, there is a lot of focus on bringing process transparency to our customers. Bringing down cost of ownership is another area where we have stressed upon, while trying to maintain a premium image for the Skoda brand”, he added.

The GST push

According to Dixit, “GST has indeed brought the prices down on premium cars and has enabled us to adopt the one-country-one-price strategy, moreover, while there will be a surge in sales of premium cars, but, we do not expect it to be a big boom.”

On a digitisation spree

The company is viewing technology to be succour to its drive towards being more customer-friendly. While it has already enabled its mobile application for digitally engaging with its customers, as well as offering features like digital service invoices, and booking online service appointments, the company is in the phase of moving its after sales deliverables and processes online, including paperless job cards and tablet-based service history access, which would be introduced across its dealerships in the Q2 of FY2018.

Localisation plans

With monthly volumes being in the range of 2,500-3,000 units in India, the company doesn’t see localisation being its top-priority in the next few years. “Localisation is a continuous process and takes time. If it is exciting to localise a component from the monetary angle, we will surely go ahead and do it, but, right now, the short term goal for the next 2-3 years lies in focusing on enhancing our brand identity in the eyes of the Indian customer”, said Dixit. 





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