Skoda Auto India hopes Kushaq will give it the much-needed volume push

Kushaq, the midsize sports utility vehicle that Auto India launched on Monday, will be the volume driver for the company and account for eight out of every ten models that will sell in India, company’s top official said.

“We plan to sell a total of 30,000 cars this year and 70-80 per cent of that will be Kushaq. In 2022, when we have the sedan, we will increase the volume even further and double it to 60,000. We are very confident that the Kushaq will give us a very significant volume push” said Zac Hollis, Brand Director at Auto India.

With ex-showroom prices starting from Rs 10.49 lakh going up to Rs 17.59 lakh, the model’s entry level trim is a tad more expensive than its nearest rivals including Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier, among others. The Creta starts at a price of Rs 9.99 lakh (ex-showroom) and goes all the way to Rs 17.70 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top variant. The Seltos also starts at slightly below Rs 10 lakh and goes up to Rs 17.65 lakh for the top variant. This is the maiden offering from the Czech carmaker since it embarked on the India 2.O strategy in 2019.

“The aggressive pricing will help them garner volumes and give their volumes the much needed thrust,” said Puneet Gupta, Associate Director, IHS Markit. However the only limiting factor could be the absence of a diesel variant, he pointed out. Though the share of diesel has been coming down, there are enough buyers in the mid size segment who want diesel, he said, citing the instance of the Creta that gets 35 to 40 percent of its sales from diesel.

According to Hollis, the market is recovering at a fast pace, much the same way it did after the first wave last year. “We have strong bookings and our workshops are full, reflecting the momentum is back.” India’s passenger vehicle market, which saw the recovery getting derailed due to the second wave of Covid-19 and ensuing lockdowns, is expected to get back on the path to recovery following the easing of the pandemic induced curbs and the vaccination drive. A pent up demand and preference for personal mobility has been fuelling sales. To ride on the improved sentiments carmakers have been going ahead with it since the beginning of this month.

Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Group brand has managed to address what has been the biggest sore point for the Skoda owners. Over the last couple of years it has been working on bringing down the cost of ownership. The cost of servicing a Skoda model is now down by 23 per cent, informed Hollis. The move will help restore confidence in the brand which has always been considered expensive to own and maintain.

With the Kushaq launch, the company will penetrate deeper in the country by expanding its network to Tier-2 and 3 cities. Škoda India currently has 120 sales touch points in 85 cities and plans to expand to 150 touch points by the end of 2021. Along with expanding its sales and service network, the company has also announced a slew of customer centric initiatives on the ownership front. Every Kushaq comes with a four-year/100,000 km warranty, which can be extended up to six years/150,000 km. Additionally, it will also offer a two-year parts warranty, two-year battery warranty, three-year paint warranty, six-year corrosion warranty and extended roadside assistance programmes up to nine years.

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