Global car major Volkswagen
will be investing Euros 1 billion (Rs 7900 crore) in India for its India 2.0
project which was announced by the group recently. This money will be used to
develop new Skoda models based on the MQB platform, its plant in India and for
setting up a research centre in Pune. Volkswagen has entrusted its group
company Skoda Auto in India to play a major role in the overall growth of its
products in India as part of the group’s India 2.0 project.
All models designed and
produced locally in India in the future will be based on Volkswagen Group’s MQB
platform, which already fulfills the stricter legal requirements for India that
come into force in 2020. With the ‘India 2.0’ project, Skoda Auto is also
taking over responsibility for the sub-compact MQB A0 platform, initially with
a focus on India (MQB-A0-IN).
The first model built on the
new MQB-A0-IN platform will be launched in the second half of 2020. What are
the fundamental advantages of the MQB? By standardising components, dimensions
and production processes, costs are lowered and production times are reduced.
Furthermore, the MQB increases flexibility when developing new vehicles. Most
of the technical development will take place in India.
MQB, which stands for Modularer
Querbaukasten in German language, translates to Modular Transverse Matrix
– a technology platform that makes the vehicles lighter, more efficient,
spacious, safe and comfortable with a more dynamic drive system and appearance.
Within the MQB, uniform parameters are maintained across model series and
brands – such as the mounting orientations of all engines. The modular
component system also offers variable parameters for optimal and individual
implementation in a wide variety of models. They include the wheelbase, track
widths and wheel sizes. All new MQB models are designed so that - along with
the classic types of drive systems (gasoline and diesel engines) - they can
always be built as natural gas, hybrid or E-models as well.
Late last year, Volkswagen
Group had announced that it would be investing about Euros 22.8 billion
throughout the world from 2018 to 2022. Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the
Volkswagen brand, had emphasised that: "The investment package which has
now been adopted will give a decisive boost to the largest product and
technology offensive in the history of the brand. It is our objective to
position Volkswagen sustainably in the lead in the volume segments and to take
up a leading position in e-mobility."
The Volkswagen Group comprises
of some of the best auto brands in the world and many of them have some kind of
significant foothold in India. Apart from brands like Audi, Bentley, Bugatti,
Lamborghini, Porsche, Skoda and Volkswagen, the group also owns the Ducati motorcycle
brand. Unfortunately, the Volkswagen group was involved in a massive diesel
emission related scam a few years ago wherein it had to pay billions of US
dollars as penalty.
The India 2.0 project will be
headed by the Managing Director of Skoda Auto India Private Ltd, Gurpratap
Boparai, who joined the company recently, after having served with Fiat in
India. In a press meet in the Capital, Skoda Auto CEO Bernhard Maier said that
the “phase 1 of the India 2.0 Project is already underway” and that by 2025 the
two brands Volkswagen and Skoda together will have a 5 per cent market share in
the Indian passenger car market. Beginning 2020, both Volkswagen and Skoda will
be launching at least 2 models each every year in India for the Indian
passenger car market.
Incidentally, in 2017, a total
of 17,100 Skoda vehicles (+31.4%; 2016: 13,000 units) were delivered to
customers in India. Today, Skoda Auto India Private Ltd offers four Skoda
models: the Rapid, Octavia, Superb and, since October 2017, the Kodiaq. The
Rapid is produced at the Pune plant, whilst the Octavia, Superb and Kodiaq
models are manufactured in Aurangabad, which is also where the company’s
headquarters are located. Both plants are located in the western Indian state
As part of the ‘India 2.0’
project, Volkswagen Group’s position in India will be strengthened for the long
term. Around one and a half years ago, Skoda Auto was given the task of
developing a sustainable model campaign for the Skoda and Volkswagen brands in
the Indian volume segments.
Maier also told journalists
that the one billion Euros will be invested towards the implementation of the
project, primarily between 2019 and 2021. To ensure the products are perfectly
suited to the Indian market, Skoda Auto will set up an engineering centre in
the country. All models designed and produced locally in India in the future
will be based on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which already fulfils the
stricter legal requirements for India that come into force in 2020.
Bernhard Maier said, “Experts
predict that in the next few years India is going to become the third-largest
automotive market worldwide. With our ‘India 2.0’ project we are now creating
the right conditions for sustainable growth there. Our objective is ambitious,
but achievable: together with the Volkswagen brand, we are seeking a market
share of up to five per cent in the long term, depending on market and segment
Gurpratap Boparai said, “With
the ‘India 2.0’ project, Skoda Auto India and Volkswagen Group India are in an
excellent position to optimally confront the dynamics of the Indian car market.
In India, we will offer world-class products at prices that amount to a
paradigm shift in the automotive industry. We will manufacture the new products
on the localised MQB A0 platform, which already fulfill the stricter emission
and safety standards that are expected to come into force in India in 2020.”
Initially, Skoda Auto will
develop the MQB A0 platform with a focus on India (MQB-A0-IN). In the second
phase, Skoda will be assessing the possibility of exporting vehicles
manufactured in India. Skoda and Volkswagen will develop several products based
on this platform. The model campaign will begin in 2020 with a mid-size SUV
(more than 4 metre in length).
To ensure that the planned
models will fulfil the requirements of Indian customers, Skoda Auto will
develop these products at the world-class engineering centre which is part of
the India 2.0 project. Within the India 2.0 Project, Skoda Auto India plans to
gradually create 4000 – 5000 new jobs.
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