Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, May 06, 2004
Marketing - Strategy
Skoda puts off Superb, Fabia launch Hands full with a slew of new models
A file photo showing Mr Bipin Datar, Head, Sales and Marketing, Skoda Auto India, and Mr D. Shivkumar, MD, Millennium Motors, during a Superb preview in Chennai.
Bangalore , May 5
CZECH auto maker Skoda Auto has put off the launches of its high-end car, Superb and mid-size car, Fabia because of a busy year ahead and production constraints.
Skoda Auto India's head for sales and marketing, Mr Bipin Datar, told Business Line that Fabia's launch is being put off to the middle of next year because of a slew of launches this year. "It is going to be a busy year for us with new launches lined up," Mr Datar said.
Superb's launch has again been put off till the new government takes over at the Centre. "We want to delay the launch till the next Budget is announced which could throw up some concessions for the auto sector," Mr Datar said. If some concessions are announced, the benefit could be passed on to the customers.
Hence, Superb is now expected to be launched by June or July. Superb was being planned for a January launch earlier. Its homologation was completed in December last year. The luxury car is expected to be priced slightly higher than Rs 20 lakh.
Superb is a high technology car and is based on Volkswagen Passat platform and is styled like a bigger, better-proportioned Octavia with better legroom. It is also the largest vehicle in the entire range of automobiles offered by Skoda.
The Fabia will be launched some time during the middle of next year. "By that time, we would have started consolidation of our launches in the previous year and our production would have got streamlined," Mr Datar said.
Fabia has four variants. Fabia Hatchback - with nearly four metres of length, is considered the most spacious in its class. Fabia Combi - is roomier and can transport big loads or lot of luggage. The luggage compartment, hidden under a roll-up cover has a capacity of 426 litres and can be enlarged up to 1,225 litres with the back seats folded down.
The Fabia at a display
Fabia Sedan - the body of this model is optically divided into three sections, like that of a classical limousine and competes with mid-sized vehicles and Fabia RS is a sports - oriented car and is fitted with a turbo-charged 1.9 TDI PD/96 kW diesel engine, specially made for this particular sports model.
The company has, however, not taken a decision on how many variants of Fabia will be launched in India.
Skoda will also unveil a high-torque low emission `pumpe duse' (PD) diesel engine which gives increased mileage. Some of the new models like 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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