India key to Skoda Auto’s global expansion: CEO Klaus Zellmer

MUMBAI, Feb 27: India is the most promising growth market for Skoda Auto and the country will play a crucial role in the company’s international expansion, the Czech automobile firm’s global CEO Klaus Zellmer said on Tuesday.

In a virtual address, Zellmer talked about the company’s roadmap for India and said Skoda will enter the compact SUV segment in India in a year and also launch its electric vehicle in the market.

Skoda Auto India is looking to increase its share in the Indian market to 5 per cent by 2030.

“We are continually growing our capacity to respond quickly to the global markets. It is here that India plays crucial role. Europe is important as a core market, but our strategic focus is on growing a new international foundations so that we can stand on two strong legs,” Zellmer said.

Further, he said, “India is a key contributor to our global growth and the most promising growth market for the years to come.

“Strengthening our India operations also strengthens our wider internationalisation potential,” he said.

About 50 per cent of Skoda cars manufactured outside of the Czech Republic are produced in India, he said, adding, the company’s export strategy of India developed products continues to gain momentum.

“Our cars have already been exported to the Gulf countries. We’ve also announced our market entry into Vietnam, supported by our successful operations in India, and cars and components manufactured in Pune are taking Skoda Auto to new parts of the world,” he said.

Zellmer noted that Skoda Auto has just fixed its future investment strategy in terms of product enhancements for the existing range and is also adding new products both in internal combustion engine and battery electric vehicles segments.

Stating that Skoda Auto will enter a new era in India and international markets, Zeller said, “This next step will be an all new compact SUV that we will launch in about one year from today. The new model fully expand our customer offering in the powerful sector of SUVs, which account for more than 50 per cent of the overall new car sales potential in India.”

Significant change in consumer preference has cranked up demand for SUVs, which resulted into doubling the market share of such vehicles to around 60 per cent of total domestic volume this fiscal from around 28 per cent before the pandemic in fiscal 2019, according to a recent Crisil ratings reports.

This preference is expected to grow further, backed by a healthy pipeline of new model launches across price points, including electric variants, and normalised availability of semiconductors after a prolonged period of short supply, the report said.

Zellmer said Skoda Auto is also preparing for the EV segment in India.

The all-electric Enyaq is the foundation of Skoda’s EV strategy globally, he said, adding, “I’m sure you are aware that we are already testing the car in India.”

Enyaq is expected to hit the Indian market later this year.

On the sales outlook in India, Zellmer said, “We have a very solid plan to grow the Skoda brand in India and are targeting a market share of around 5 per cent by 2030.” (PTI)