Encouraged by the success of its high-end products including the Octavia and the Superb, Skoda India plans to launch a raft of new models in 2017. It seems the Czech carmaker is done playing second fiddle to Volkswagen and is now looking to strengthen its presence in the Indian market.
Skoda India is targeting multiple segments of the market and their plan is to add at least four new models over the course of next year. The models in question are the Rapid facelift, high-performance Octavia RS, Kodiaq SUV and possibly a Rapid-based hatchback. The latter will be made specifically for the Indian market.
Starting off with the Rapid facelift, the C-segment sedan will get a host of cosmetic and equipment upgrades. Design wise, it will wear Skoda’s new-age look with much sharper headlights, redesigned grille, a more angular alloy design and revised bumpers at both ends. Now although the drivetrain will remain the same, Skoda is looking to achieve higher levels of cost efficiency in the manufacturing process which in turn would allow the brand to revise the interior packaging and add some more equipment without jacking up the price.
Next up for 2017 is a car that’s bound to create uproar among the enthusiasts. We are talking about the Octavia vRS which will hit the showrooms in the first half of the year. Now unlike the heavily toned down Laura vRS, the new Octavia vRS is expected to be launched as a full-on vRS spec model with trick suspension, 2-litre TSI engine/DSG gearbox and body-hugging seats, making it Skoda’s halo offering for the Indian market.
Moving onto higher end of the scale, 2017 will see the launch of Skoda’s first even full-size SUV offering, the Kodiaq. The vehicle is set to make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show in October and as you may have guessed it, is on its way to the Indian market. At 4.7m in length, the Kodiaq is expected to be among the most spacious 7-seater offering in its class. What’s more, it will be launched in the highly desirable diesel/DSG combination, posing some serious threat to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Hyundai Santa Fe.
Lastly, there’s the all-important Rapid-based hatchback which will be positioned in the thick-end of the premium small car segment. Skoda has no plans to launch the latest-gen MQB-developed Fabia as it’s simply proving to be too expensive for the Indian market. The only logical step, then, is to make use of the Rapid facelift’s platform and utilise all the localised content to keep the price down. Expect the Rapid-based hatchback to hit the showrooms by the second half of 2017.