Skoda Rapid production commences in Pune; Market introduction in mid-November

10/10/2011 - 07:32 | ,   | Shrawan Raja

From L-R Mr, Stackmann, Mr. Oeljeklaus, Prof. Dr. Vahland, Chairman of the Board of Skoda Auto, Dr.Chacko, President and Managing Director, Volkswagen India, Mr.Nestler, Dr. Gruenberg and Mr. KuehlSkoda has commenced the production of the VW Vento-based sedan christened as the Rapid. IAB was the first to post the completely undisguised picture of the upcoming Skoda Rapid.

The sedan is manufactured at the Volkswagen plant in Chakan, Pune where its cousin Vento, Skoda Fabia and VW Polo are currently being made. The first production cars are rolling out of the plant already and the market launch is scheduled in mid-November.

The Rapid uses the Vento's mechanicals (1.6-liter petrol/diesel engines paired to 5-speed MT/4-speed AT) but will be priced just below the Vento. Apart from that as the pictures depict the Rapid shares its front fascia with the Fabia and the rear almost resembles the Vento but with Skoda elements in the tail-lamps and trunk lid.

If priced between the 7-9.5 lakh rupees mark, many Fabia owners would love to upgrade to the Rapid.

The roll out was conducted in the presence of Chairman of the Board of Management, Skoda Auto, Prof. Dr, Winfried Vahland. The Rapid is exclusively manufactured in India. As expected, passenger space is the USP of this Skoda product. It plays a strategic role in the company's ambition to reach an annual output of 1.8 million units globally by the year 2018.

The Rapid is a mid-sized sedan. It fills a grave void that exists between the Fabia and the Laura (Octavia to Europeans).

What about the MissionL then?

Although the Rapid is related to the MissionL concept showcased at the Frankfurt Motorshow, it does not have the VisionD design vocabulary. This could be missed intentionally as Indians recognize the face of the Fabia and Laura in a snap. The MissionL's design nuggets could be incorporated on the next generation Laura and facelifts of the more recent Superb and Yeti models.

The Chinese, European and Russian markets will receive the MissionL version of the Rapid next year. Besides sporting a different design, specific markets will have the liftback body style (where the trunk lid and rear windshield is a single entity). Skoda's ambitious plans include releasing a model every six months in the next three years to achieve their proposed target by 2018.

Press Release - ŠKODA Auto India starts production of Rapid from its Chakan Plant

> The new compact ŠKODA sedan bears the name ‘Rapid’

> In the presence of Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, Chairman of the Board of Management, ŠKODA Auto a.s. announces the start of production of ŠKODA Rapid

New Delhi, 7 October, 2011: ŠKODA Auto India began production of its much anticipated entry level sedan, the ŠKODA Rapid at its plant in Chakan, near Pune today. ŠKODA Rapid is the first car from the ŠKODA brand which has been designed, keeping in mind the special needs of Indian customers and will be exclusively manufactured in India.

“Today is the official Start of Production for the Indian variant of our new Rapid compact saloon. Effective immediately, the first unit of the ŠKODA Rapid will be rolling off the line in this plant. The car will be introduced in the market shortly. It is an attractive car with lots of space and room for five persons.” Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, Chairman of the Board of Management, ŠKODA Auto a.s. commented.

Manufacturing of the all new ŠKODA Rapid will take place at the Chakan plant. The car will be offered with a choice of diesel and petrol engines. The commencement of production of ŠKODA Rapid is in line with ŠKODA Auto’s 2018 growth strategy which aims to double sales globally to at least 1.5 million units.

Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Chacko, Volkswagen Group Chief Representative India, President and Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited, said “ŠKODA has always been an integral part of the plant in Chakan. The first car that was produced at this plant was a ŠKODA Fabia, and we are happy to roll-out the ŠKODA Rapid on this occasion. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Volkswagen and ŠKODA teams for this success that has been achieved as a result of their synergies.”

ŠKODA Rapid will be entirely manufactured in India. It will be positioned at the entry level of the country's mid-sized sedan segment. With the introduction of the ŠKODA Rapid, ŠKODA will now offer cars to suit the needs of a larger customer base in India.

Expressing his gratitude to the employees on the occasion Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland further said, “ŠKODA Rapid is a true reflection of our motto ‘Simply Clever’ with your work ladies and gentlemen, you will contribute to the new ŠKODA becoming a success in India. In this context, local sourcing and local production are essential. Our aim is to make cars of the highest quality. Your competence and know-how are what will make this happen”.

The Pune plant is a key element in ŠKODA Auto’s India strategy. The scale of investment, commissioning local suppliers and employing people primarily from the region itself demonstrate ŠKODA Auto’s commitment to India. ŠKODA is making an important contribution to the economic development in the region and also in the Indian economy in general.

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