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Updated: January 21, 2014 23:30 IST

Skoda eyes ‘value-luxury’ brand tag

G. Balachandar
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Sudhir Rao
The Hindu
Sudhir Rao

Skoda, part of the Volkswagen group, has drawn up plans to launch at least two new models along with upgrades in 2014 and to focus on positioning itself as a ‘value- luxury’ brand in the upper segment of the Indian car market.

“We will introduce two new vehicles in 2014 with upgrades to the Rapid. We have a Superb facelift and one more new product for the year,” Sudhir Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, SkodaAuto India, told The Hindu.

“We continue to focus on the Octavia as that is the heart of Skoda and the Superb is our flagship. We have given the Superb a facelift and will soon introduce the new Superb in the market. We are constantly focusing on developing the Rapid and adding new features to the car and our marketing activities and plan for the year will reflect this intent. We expect the momentum to continue and look at increasing our market share,” he added.

Though he admitted that SUVs and compact sedans were doing well in India, Mr. Rao said Skoda would build on its strengths in the mid-top-end sedan segment in the near term. But, he didn’t rule out entry into new segments as Skoda continued to evaluate the potential. Skoda has been strengthening its position in the mid-size, executive and premium sedan segments. The new Octavia (executive segment), launched in October 2013, received over 1,000 bookings within three weeks of the launch, while Superb (premium segment) has been the segment leader since its launch in 2004. Rapid (mid-size sedan category) is doing well as the volume model.

Under its ‘Value Luxury’ brand positioning plan, Skoda will focus on rolling out world class products and strategic focus will also shift from increasing volume to enhancing customer experience.

During April-December 2013, the total volume of three segments — mid-size, executive and premium — stood at 122,685 units (9.5 per cent in total car sales), and Skoda had a market share of about 11 per cent.

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