Volkswagen Group is planning to make an investment of around Rs 8,000 crore investment by its Czech subsidiary, Skoda Auto, to revive its operations in the Indian market, making a strong comeback in the mass market segment. Though, there is still an official announcement to be made later this month. Skoda will take charge of the Volkswagen’s Chakan facility, where Skoda would develop some new high volume models. With the investment, the company would retool the Chakan plant and build a new production line to manufacture cars built on the VW’s MQB platform. Moreover, some part of the investment is also likely to be used for manufacturing MPI and TSI derivatives of the EA211 petrol engine.
The MQB production line will be built in parallel to the existing PQ25 platform on which models like Skoda Rapid, Volkswagen Polo, Ameo and Vento. Though, in coming future the old model range will be phased out most likely by 2020 and will be replaced with a fresh model line-up, built on the MQB platform. This line-up includes - a mid-size SUV, a sedan and a hatchback for both Skoda and Volkswagen.
Initially, both VW and Skoda will take charge on Hyundai Creta by introducing a rival in the mid-size SUV segment. Oliver Stefani, Skoda’s head of design, hinted about the design cues to be borrowed from the Vision X concept. The compact SUV will be slotted under the Kodiaq and Karoq. Whereas the Skoda SUV is expected to take some design cues from the VW’s T-Cross, using its some body panels, as it is not easy keep the cost in check using near production model as a whole.
Thereafter, we can expect the next-generation Vento and Rapid to come with the refresh form which is long overdue. These two products will get a new look, and it is likely that the next- generation model will be designed with more flair for Indian consumers. The hatchbacks are expected to make at later stages as the Volkswagen is planning to keep a check on price and making it more competitive in the market by localization of parts. Whereas for the Skoda, it seems like a comeback to Fabia that was discontinued in 2014.
The next-gen Polo and Skoda hatchback are expected to come powered by a new range of petrol engines – a 1.0-litre naturally aspirated (MPI), three-cylinder motor producing 65bhp. The new Vento instead of a four-cylinder 1.2 TSI that powers the current model is likely to be replaced with a more efficient three-cylinder 1.0 TSI or turbo-petrol generating 115bhp. The Rapid will get 1.0 TSI engine, replacing ageing 1.6 MPI petrol (EA111). What’s more interesting is that VW’s 1.5-litre EA189 diesel motor will not witness an update to BS-VI standards and will be over by the new emission norms in April 2020. The only option that Volkswagen group will be left with after the entry of the new Emission norms by April 2020 would be the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder EA288. Though, it will be more appropriate for the mid-size SUV, but not for a mid-size sedan or a hatchback.
Source: Autocar India