VW to reposition Skoda, Volkswagen brands in India
New Delhi: German automotive giant Volkswagen is undertaking a repositioning for its group brands in India to align with its global practice, which may see Skoda moving down in the pecking order.
The group has three brands -- Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda -- in the Indian market. Audi is in the luxury segment. Skoda, however, has taken a more premium positioning compared to the Volkswagen brand, contrary to the group's global practice.
"It's a question of how different brands are placed against themselves in the market. Skoda has a quite high position (in India). In the group, Skoda is little bit positioned under Volkswagen. So, we are on the way to make a correction," Volkswagen Group Board Member and Executive Vice President Ulrich Hackenberg said.
Currently, the Volkswagen sells seven brands in India -- hatchback Polo, sedans Vento, Jetta, Passat and Phaeton along with SUV Touareg and the iconic Beetle.
Skoda, on the other hand, has five models -- hatchback Fabia, sedans Rapid, Laura and Superb along with compact SUV Yeti.
At present, on a comparative basis hatchback Skoda Fabia is priced between Rs 4.60 lakh and Rs 8.10 lakh, while Volkswagen Polo is tagged at Rs 4.8 lakh to Rs 6.94 lakh.
Similarly, mid-sized sedan Skoda Rapid is tagged between Rs 6.90 lakh and Rs 9.50 lakh compared to Volkswagen Vento which costs between Rs 7.29 lakh and Rs 9.89 lakh.
In the premium sedan segment, Skoda Laura comes for Rs 12.9 lakh to Rs 18.97 lakh, while Volkswagen Jetta is priced at Rs 13.6 lakh and Rs 18.9 lakh.
In the luxury segment, Skoda Superb is available for Rs 18 lakh to Rs 24 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), while that of Volkswagen Passat is available from Rs 22 lakh to Rs 27.26 lakh.
The VW group has said that till 2015, India will not be a priority market for introduction of new models, such as small car Up! and major investments as the "business case is not positive".
"We are looking at the business case, which is not positive. In connection to the investment we need to do, we are not in the situation to do that," Hackenberg had said.
Volkswagen Group Chief Representative (India) John Chacko had said the firm will hold itself from taking any major decision or introducing new models in India.
During the interim period, the company will continue to launch more derivatives of models from the existing platforms, Chacko had added.