Skoda is planning to introduce a stripped-down version of the European Rapid in China.
The Rapid brand was first re-introduced in India, however it was nothing but to give the VW Vento a Skoda identity.
The European Rapid was not just a cosmetic surgery but a comprehensive redesign. Retaining the same platform, Skoda installed a new dashboard, new features, redesigned the rear seat and transformed it into a hatchback (a la Skoda Octavia).
A no-frills version of the European Rapid is planned for China where the VW group already has the VW Santana and VW Jetta which are also based on the same PQ25 platform. Adding the Skoda Rapid would mean that China gets a choice of three almost mechanically identical models at roughly the same price. This tells you about the width of the sedan market in China.
The Skoda Rapid is expected to be sold within a low price range of 80,000 Yuan (around Rs. 6.95 lakhs) to 1,00,000 Yuan (around Rs. 8.7 lakhs). The Chinese Rapid will be built by the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture.
The spy shots of Autohome.com.cn reveal that the Chinese version renounces quite a few features when compared to the European cousin. The front grill sacrifices chrome lining and the entry level model makes do without the fog lamps, alloy wheels, thicker rubber, black body fittings, and sun roof.
The Chinese Skoda Rapid is powered by a pair of petrol engines - a 90 bhp 1.4 litre and a 110 bhp 1.6 litre. The transmission option includes a five speed manual and a six speed automatic.
Does Skoda India feel the need for this model? We'll soon find out, stay tuned to IndianAutosBlog.com.