Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Feb 14, 2004
Marketing - Strategy
Skoda plans pre-owned car initiative To expand dealer network
Bangalore , Feb. 13
CZECH auto maker, Skoda, is firming up a major marketing initiative including a pre-owned car programme and increasing its dealership network to support its launch of new cars this year.
The current year will be a busy year for Skoda with launch of two new cars and two variants of Octavia, the Skoda Auto's General Manager for Sales and Marketing, Mr Bipin Datar, told Business Line.
He said that once Laurent & Klement is rolled out in March, the company will launch a pre-owned car initiative called, Signature Series for owners of Octavia, through which the customers can upgrade to the new car.
"This initiative offers Octavia a unique opportunity not to miss out on our new model," Mr Datar said.
He said the company expects between 5 per cent and 7 per cent of pre-owned car owners to migrate to Laurent & Klement and newer models from Skoda.
As there are very few second-hand Octavia cars in the market, customers can hope to get a good price for trade ins, Mr Datar said.
Laurent & Klement, named after the owners of Skoda, is expected to be priced around Rs 13.5 lakh. Octavia is the price range of Rs 10.6 lakh and Rs 12.3 lakh.
Mr Datar said two more versions of Octavia will be launched around July this year. These include, an automatic diesel variant and a 1.8 lt turbo-petrol with 146 bhp.
He said Superb will also be launched in March. The high-end car will be positioned between the `C' and `E' class of Mercedes Benz and is expected to be priced at around Rs 23 lakh.
Mr Datar said the company plans to increase the number of dealership to 40 during the year. It currently has 20 dealers and 14 satellite centres, which act as sub-dealers. He said the production will be ramped up during the year. "We can produce up to 40 cars per day which could go up soon," he said. He said a major print campaign will also be launched soon as part of the marketing initiative.
Skoda is also planning to use its existing facility in India as an export hub at a later stage. It will also unveil a high-torque low-emission "pumpe duse" (PD) diesel engine which gives increased mileage.
Some of the new models such as Superb will have the PD (unit injector) engines and compete with the common-rail direct injection (CRDi) engines popularised by Hyundai.
Pumpe Düse diesel engines offer high performance using high-pressure injector units, a turbocharger and variable turbine geometry. This pump injection system injects fuel at extremely high pressures, for maximum efficiency and power.
PD engines have extremely high fuel efficiency and can give up to 26 km per litre.
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