Škoda Auto is planning to make a comeback on India’s compact vehicle market. The Czech car maker is considering launching a mini-SUV and an entry level sedan in 2019, in cooperation with India’s Tata Motors, the Times of India reported on Tuesday. According to the daily, the vehicles may hit the road at the start of 2019.
In March this year, representatives of Volkswagen, Škoda Auto and Tata Motors signed a memorandum to explore a long-term strategic partnership to jointly develop auto components and vehicles for the Indian subcontinent and other developing countries. Škoda Auto has been selected to lead the project on behalf of the Volkswagen Group.
According to the Times of India, Tata Motors' advanced modular platform, called AO Entry, could be one of the options that could be explored for new products. The highly-flexible platform can produce a variety of vehicle types because it offers a high degree of common parts across various product lines.
In recent years, Czech car-maker Škoda Auto has been working on a revamp of its Indian operations, after facing problems such as poor service quality and falling customer confidence. Sudhir Rao, Managing Director at Škoda Auto India, told the Times of India that the company was now preparing to boost its portfolio as it moves beyond a "re-haul of operations":
"Service quality and customer experience at dealerships were critical elements for us, and something that required attention. We have worked tirelessly to fix issues around this area and are now set to move ahead with the product strategy," he told the daily.
For Volkswagen, the cooperation with Tata Motors could provide an opportunity to make more headway into India, which some experts say could become the world's third-largest auto market behind the U.S. and leader China by the year 2020.