Czech car maker Skoda Auto has said India will become an export hub for the company as it is set to commence exports of vehicle kits for assembly in Vietnam from next year.
The company, which posted a whopping 125 per cent year-on-year surge in its vehicle sales at 53,721 units in 2022, also sounded hopeful of growing into double-digit this year as well.
Similarly, Volkswagen Group sales grew 85.48 per cent year-on-year at 1,01,270 units in the previous calendar year.
The Group is present through Skoda Auto, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini brands under Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd (SAVWPIL).
"India is an absolutely important market as part of our regional strategy of Skoda Auto, and India will become an export hub for Skoda," Petr Solc, Brand Director at Skoda Auto India told PTI in an interaction.
Volkswagen is already exporting vehicles from India to Mexico and South Africa while Skoda Auto is exporting to the Middle East and North Africa. “From next year we will start exporting vehicle kits for assembly in Vietnam,” Solc stated.
Export is already an important part and will continue to be an important part of the strategy for Skoda and Volkswagen, he stated.
Noting that Skoda Auto India for the first time delivered more than 50,000 cars in the domestic market last year, he said “we would like to grow with the market or even faster and our ambition is to grow into double digits.”
He said that 2022 was specific for the company on account of the Slavia launch and added that “So, there was this kind of a one-time effect of any new model introduction.”
“Now, we have both models (all-new Slavia sedan and Kushaq SUV) in the market and can now enjoy having both models for the full year in the market,” he said.
Solc said that the 7-seater updated SUV Kodiaq will also play a role in terms of the company's growth strategy, particularly when there is much greater supply now.
To a question on Audi, which at a point of time was the undisputed leader in the domestic premium luxury car market, Christian Cahn Von Seelen, Member of the Board for sales, marketing and digital at SAVWPIL said that its growth has been "impressive” in terms of volume in 2022 compared to the year earlier and that was still hampered significantly by the chip supply situations even in Europe.
“So the growth of Audi is impressive, and we are definitely planning to continue…So as much (as) I think, I can say we will see loads of new product introductions here on the other side.”
On the company's EV foray in the Indian market, Solc said it depends on the development of the segment in the country.
Late last month, the European car maker Skoda announced its EV roadmap, which includes six electric cars in a phased manner by 2026.
"We as a manufacturer and Skoda, we will be ready. And if we see good traction, we are talking about the prognosis that the car market or the EV can go within 5-10 years, up to 20, maybe 30 per cent. We don't know necessarily,” he said.
“So this could be part, we would like to be also within that range, but depends again, on the response. If we see more manufacturers going, there is an infrastructure built here and there's an acceptance from the customers to buy electric cars, and we will be ready,” he said.
He said that the company is discussing which models it should bring in the future also to India as an EV.
"And if we see the potential in the market, we will bring them as well. So I cannot say necessarily what the percentage will be. But if the market is going towards more than 20 per cent of the electric vehicles of the total market, we would like to penetrate within the EV segment,” Solc added.