VW group

Skoda gears up for India expansion and e-vehicle push

Bernhard Maier neuer Skoda-Vorstandsvorsitzender
Skoda's CEO is hitting the gas pedal. Source: dpa

Skoda’s CEO Bernhard Maier has an ambitious vision for the company’s future. Volkswagen’s Czech arm wants to conquer the Indian car market on behalf of the VW group. “We could start selling cars in India in early 2021,” Mr. Maier told Handelsblatt in an exclusive interview. “In a first step, we are planning a production of more than 300,000 cars per year,” he said.

Skoda is developing a platform for Volkswagen, which is set to produce affordable and smaller cars targeted for the Indian market. Volkswagen owns production sites in India, where Skoda is planning to produce these vehicles. “We will only be able to stay within our budget by producing them on site in India,” Mr. Maier said. In the long term, the VW Group wants to gain a market share of 5 percent in India.

It is not an easy undertaking, as competition is fierce in India, the 58-year-old admitted. Volkswagen has been unsuccessful twice in trying to secure a partner in India for budget cars. In August last year, talks collapsed between VW and India’s Tata Motors about jointly producing a car for customers in India and beyond. An earlier alliance with Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp failed in 2015.

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