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Friday, Dec 27, 2002

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Skoda targets 40 pc more sales in 2003

Vipin V. Nair

NEW DELHI, Dec. 26

CARMAKER, Skoda Auto India, hopes its sales in 2003 will go up by 40 per cent over the current year to 8,500 units, driven by new models and the success of its existing brands.

"We are confident of achieving our target of 6,000 cars for the current year and for the next year, our target is 8,500 cars, said Mr Bipin Datar, Head, Sales and Marketing of Skoda Auto India, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Czech-based Skoda Auto.

He claimed Skoda is currently selling 500-600 units of its Octavia luxury car, which was launched in India in November 2001.

Priced at Rs 10.7 lakh for diesel and petrol versions, the Octavia is sandwiched between the `D' segment luxury cars such as Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Mondeo, and `C' segment cars like Opel Astra and Mitsubishi Lancer.

Such a positioning has helped Skoda attract buyers from both the D as well as C categories. "We pitched for the Rs 10 lakh price to make Octavia slightly on top of the C segment and below the D segment," Mr Datar said.

Recently, an Octavia Variant, `Elegance', has also been introduced, priced at Rs 12.4 lakh.

Mr Datar said Skoda was currently working on launching two new models in the Indian market next year - the Lauren & Clement and the Skoda Superb. "We are also considering the Fabia for India," Mr Datar told Business Line.

While the Laurel & Clement will be priced upwards of Rs 14.5 lakh, the Superb will carry a price tag of Rs 21-22 lakh. The Fabia could be in the Rs 8 lakh range.

Skoda has an annual production capacity of 10,000 units at its Aurangabad facility. The company imports semi-knocked down (SKD) kits of its vehicles before assembling them at its plant.

"We will go for the completely knocked-down kits in 2003 and will also ramp up our capacity. We will soon be making our investment plans in this regard," Mr Datar said.

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