agencyfaqs! News Bureau
Skoda Auto India, a Volkswagen subsidiary, launched Octavia, the notchback luxury car, in the capital yesterday. The Mumbai launch of the Octavia is scheduled for November 21, 2001. The Octavia comes in two variants - the 1.9 litre turbo diesel and the 2.0 litre petrol. Both the cars sport an ex-showroom price of Rs 10.6 lakh. The company is targeting sales of 6,000 units by the end of fiscal 2002-03.
At the moment Skoda has four dealers. While two are in Delhi, one each is in Mumbai and Goa. Plans are afoot to take the number of dealers up to 12 across the country - including Hyderabad, Cochin, Chennai, Gujarat and Punjab - by December 2002.
Talking about the features of the car, Imran Hassen, managing director, Skoda Auto India, says, "Octavia, the largest selling car in Europe, is the most powerful and luxurious car Skoda has ever built. While the petrol variant is 111 bhp, the 1.9 litre diesel version is 90 bhp. Among its other attributes, it has a stowaway space of 528 litre." Octavia will be available in six colours - deep-sea blue (metallic), rally red, agave green (metallic), diamond sliver (metallic), candy white and stone grey (metallic).
To begin with, the Octavia will be imported in India as an SKD (semi-knocked down) unit and assembled in the Skoda Auto India plant in Aurangabad. The company's manufacturing facility in India should be up and running in three to five years' time. The company hopes to notch up a market share of 20-22 per cent in the upper C- lower D segment.
In the next 15 days, the company hopes to sell 200 Octavias. Hassen is banking on the car's competitive pricing and its looks to do the trick. "We hope to give a good fight to Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mitsubishi Lancer etc. It is an attractive offer for those who want to upgrade from the C segment," he says.
The next six months will be crucial for Skoda. Its performance during this time will decide how soon it would be able to bring in the other brands in its portfolio. Advertising will play a pivotal role during the test period. The estimated Rs 5-crore advertising business of Skoda Auto India is with iB&W Communications, Mumbai. The agency has just released a three-series print campaign, which is a curtain raiser to the launch of the Octavia. Talking about the communication strategy, Ganesh Subramaniam, vice-president, creative, iB&W, says, "We have not taken the run-of-the-mill style of car advertising. Which is harping on the lifestyle aspect of the car or on luxury. Our communication speaks about our obsession with quality."
Probably the copy of the ads would substantiate Subramaniam's point. While one of them reads "A screw is not the most important part of a car. That's why we have only 84 tests for it", another says, "When you test cars at over 80 degrees centigrade, they obviously become the best under the sun." More such campaigns would follow.
To put things into perspective when Skoda Auto came into India in 1996, the gameplan was to mark its entry with Felicia. Now, it seems, the strategy has been revised. The success of the Octavia will pave the way for Fabia (the predecessor of Felicia) and L&K (Laurin and Klement).
© agencyfaqs! 2001