Skoda Subcompact SUV For India Set For Late-2024 Debut; No Plans For Hatch
By Amaan Ahmed
3 mins read
Published on September 30, 2023
- New subcompact SUV will be the most affordable Skoda on sale in India.
- Entry-level SUV described as “very much ready” by Martin Jahn, Board Member, Skoda Auto.
- Smallest offering in Skoda’s global SUV portfolio will also be evaluated for export markets.
Keen to build on the momentum generated by the Kushaq compact SUV and Slavia sedan over the last two years, Skoda is now gearing up to launch its next model in India, which it has confirmed will be a sub-compact SUV. India’s sub-four-metre SUV market continues to grow, and the Volkswagen Group wants in on the action with its very own offering. The all-new model, which will be made in India and will be the smallest SUV yet in Skoda’s global portfolio, is “very much ready”, a senior Skoda official confirmed recently.
Martin Jahn is Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Skoda Auto.
“For India, the next step is the sub-four metre [model] and then the electric car. The sub-four metre [model] is a small SUV. It’s very much ready”, said Martin Jahn, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Skoda Auto, to carandbike and another Indian automotive publication on the sidelines of the brand’s launch event in Vietnam. While the model is close to being finished, carandbike understands that it’s likely to debut only in the latter half of 2024, with the market launch likely to take place early in 2025.
The entry-level Skoda SUV will use a downscaled iteration of the MQB A0 IN architecture that underpins the Kushaq (pictured).
Jahn confirmed the company is evaluating this upcoming model for export markets as well, but highlighted that sub-four-metre vehicles only enjoy tax breaks in India, and not in other countries, so a call on exporting it to other markets will be taken only if it makes business sense.
“The sub-four-metre rule is an India-specific requirement. We will see whether we can bring it to other countries because sub-four-metre [vehicles] enjoy special advantages in India, which is not the case elsewhere, so we’re calculating, and we can afford to bring the car [to other countries] only when it's profitable”, Jahn explained.
However, those hoping to see a Skoda hatchback spawn from the scaled-down architecture the new SUV will be based on, will be disappointed. Despite having access to a more cost-effective platform, Skoda doesn’t see the potential for a hatchback to do well in the current market scenario in India.
Skoda doesn't see a sub-four-hatchback finding success in the current market scenario in India.
“At the moment, we are focusing on the SUV because I think that's what the customers want in India. I don't think that bringing a sub-four metre hatchback would be successful”, Jahn told carandbike, all but putting a full stop on the idea of a city car from the Czech brand. The last Skoda hatchback to be sold in India was the Fabia, and it’s likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Skoda is also unlikely to develop a sedan based on the sub-four-metre base.
The new SUV, which will be the entry point to Skoda ownership in India, is set to be based on a downscaled iteration of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 IN architecture. Drawing on bigger models in the Skoda line-up for design inspiration, the subcompact SUV is expected to be equipped with the 1.0-litre TSI turbo-petrol engine, which has been localised to lower costs. Just like it did with the Kushaq, Skoda is unlikely to initiate a price war with the subcompact SUV, but it will almost certainly have a sub-Rs 10 lakh starting price, making the Skoda brand more accessible to the masses.
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