A Skoda sub-4 metre SUV (Hyundai Venue rival) for India is in the making, but it won’t be launched as part of the India 2.0 project. Bernhard Maier, CEO, Skoda, has revealed that it will be part of the India 3.0 project (phase III).
Sub-4 metre SUV is one of the most competitive M1 category vehicle segment in India, and no volume-focused automaker can afford to not be present in it. Skoda plans to launch a sub-4 metre SUV after it’s done releasing the models being developed under the India 2.0 project. Below is what Maier said (translated) about the launch timeline of the new entry-level SUV:
Our intention is to offer a small model in the category up to four meters, but we will start doing it only after we have successfully completed the India 2.0 project.
Volkswagen Group India 2.0 project
India 2.0 project is the Volkswagen Group’s first turnaround strategy for Indian operations, led by Skoda. This project will result in two premium sub-compact SUVs like the Hyundai Creta and two premium sub-compact sedans like the Hyundai Verna, one each from Skoda and Volkswagen. Volkswagen Group has put Skoda in the driver seat for this project.
The two premium B-segment SUVs will be derived from the Skoda Vision IN and VW Taigun concepts that were displayed at Auto Expo 2020. The Skoda offering will be launched with a different name, likely in April 2021*. The VW model will be launched with the same name later in 2021. Both will be mechanical cousins.
Even in the case of the two premium B-segment sedans, the first model to be launched will be from Skoda. It has been codenamed ‘ANB’ and is scheduled to be launched before the end of 2021. The Volkswagen offering will presumably follow in 2022. These models, too, will be mechanical cousins.
Skoda and Volkswagen will likely continue selling the Mk1 Rapid and the Mk1 Vento respectively after launching their respective new premium B-segment sedans, or maybe it will be just Skoda doing that. The positioning of the old car(s) would be lowered then, obviously.
Core to the India 2.0 project will be the modified MQB A0 platform called MQB A0 IN and the TSI engine family. All the four aforementioned 4,000 mm+ models will ride on the MQB A0 IN platform and come with a 1.0-litre TSI turbocharged three-cylinder and/or 1.5-litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine(s). They will have 95% localisation (number of components). The India 2.0 project may include the rollout of a 1.0-litre TGI petrol-CNG engine (a bi-fuel version of the 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine) as well.
Volkswagen Group India 3.0 project
We reckon the India 3.0 project will also be led by Skoda and that the first model coming out of this program will be the Skoda sub-4 metre SUV. This model could be launched sometime in late-2022 or early 2023. A mechanical cousin from the Volkswagen brand could follow a few months later. The third phase will also include the evaluation of alternative powertrain technologies for our market. We’ll talk about that in another detailed report.
*The launch timeline is early 2021 (January-April 2021) as per Volkswagen Group’s announcement and Q2 2021 (April-June 2021) as per Zac Hollis, Director - Sales, Service and Marketing, Skoda (India).