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India became the second biggest market globally for Skoda in March

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Demand for Slavia, Kushaq leads to 5-fold growth in March sales

India bought more Skoda cars than any other country save Germany in March making it the best phase for the Czech company’s India subsidiary since making its debut here 20 years ago.

Skoda Auto sold 5,608 units in March, recording its best monthly sales in India. The company also dethroned the Honda City to claim the top position in the mid-size sedan segment with the Slavia.

Zac Hollis, Brand Director, Skoda Auto India said, “If the comparison is for last year then India is way down the list (of biggest markets for Skoda). We sold 22,000 cars last year and that puts us on par with a small to medium European country. But in March, we were the No. 2 worldwide.”

There was a five-fold growth in March sales which was due to demand for the new models Slavia and Kushaq. Both these were launched in the past 12 months. Both the models carry a wait period of 2-4 months. Skoda on Monday introduced the Monte Carlo edition of the Kushaq, starting at ₹15.99 lakh (ex-showroom).

Aims to be in top 3

While Skoda Auto India admits that staying at the No. 2 spot will not be easy, the long-term goal of the company is to break into the league of top three globally in terms of sales in the next three years.  

“Staying at No. 2 might not be sustainable because Russia is a very strong market. But I would expect us to be in the top 3 in the long term. We should be doing this within the next three years,” Hollis added.

Besides market demand, the other key reason behind Skoda Auto India climbing to the second spot is the priority given by Skoda’s global headquarters to the India market for semiconductor allocation since India is a new product launch market.

“The success of the India 2.0 products has helped us. It has certainly helped us to get priority from our headquarters in climbing to the No. 2 spot. We have been given preference (in allotment) for semiconductors because we are a launch market,” Hollis added.

Chip shortage

While the chip shortage has disallowed auto companies to plan production for months ahead, it has also forced several of them to get innovative. Skoda Auto, for instance, had to offer some variants in its models without the radio and automatic folding rear-view mirrors.

“We don’t have much transparency for future supply which makes production planning more difficult. But we have been innovative. For instance, we recently launched a variant without a radio because we could not get the semiconductors for the radios and we asked the customers to come back to us in 3-6 months and buy the radio. And this has been very successful. We also had to remove the automatic rear-folding mirrors because of shortage of chips and now we have put them back,” Hollis added.

Published on May 09, 2022

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