We have worked hard on quality, improved our brand perception: Skoda India’s Sudhir Rao

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What is new in Superb?

The new Superb is the flagship of Skoda’s model range and demonstrates the brand’s expertise in design and engineering. It is built on the all new MQB platform and priced at Rs 22.68 lakh to Rs 29.36 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai). In terms of technology and safety standards, the model raises the benchmark and leads the way into for the brand in this market.

What is your strategy to raise your market share?

We will have three new models or launches every year to align ourselves to local needs. We would like to bring more and more new Skoda designs language including future launches. We are also bringing little bit more of Indian engineering approach to our product development and you will see a manifestation of that.

This means there would be a higher localisation?

We are constantly evaluating how we can improve our localisation. We are adopting hybrid approach between Asian and European development philosophy, something you see in the products. We are also looking to get into new segments. We have strong sense of confidence about India as an market and investment destination and also about Skoda India’s progress.

Any plans to expand your dealership?

We have currently 75 dealership across 62 cities. No target to increase it in the near term. We have a bandwidth to use existing infrastructure for both sales and services.

Then, how do you plan increase market share?

We have worked hard on quality and improved our brand perception. We will grow 10% this year. We cannot double sales but are looking at steady sales.

You grew by 4% last year, what are the total volume and what is the Superb contribution in this?

We sold 15,800 cars in 2015, and this year it would be around 17,000, of which we anticipating Superb sales from 1,200 units a year to 2,000 units.

Where does Skoda stand globally?

I believe it is in top 15 in terms of volumes.

Any new plans for Fabia?

We are a company conscious about our finances. Fabia was not meeting the criteria so we discontinued it (The premium hatchback was discontinued in India in 2013). Thinking about the next generation, Fabia is part of our global product development activity.

What went wrong with your brand in India?

We are a strong brand from the point of view of our product strength and pleasure that they give. We may have lost `customer satisfaction’ and I think we have acknowledged it. We have gone a long way in fixing it. The brand has been strong with some challenges in between. The fact that we were able to grow by 4% last year without any new product entries says a lot.