Czech marque set to launch the all-new small SUV early next year
It is not the case of the abominable snowman but Czech car maker Skoda, part of the VW Group is getting ready to pump up its presence in the Indian car market. Speaking exclusively to ZigWheels.com, Dr. Thomas Kuehl, member of the board in charge of sales and marketing informed that his company would be launching an all new small sized SUV in the country in early 2010.
It is an established fact that Skoda has been mandated within the VW Group (which includes the other mass market brands like VW and Audi which are also in India) to tap all newer markets in the developing world as the group's entry level marque. The Yeti is a butch little vehicle (based on the design concept of the same name which was shown in 2005) which has been designed for both urban and leisure driving and has the capability of all wheel drive. More a crossover than an SUV, the Yeti's compact nature will ensure that it would be the preferred option for those who dote on SUV-styled vehicles but didn't either have the money or were daunted by the sheer mass such vehicles sport.
This pleasing crossover embraces a wrap-around windscreen, coated windscreen side-pillars (which in the automotive lexicon is normally termed the A-pillar), and the characteristic roof covering which Skoda is noted for. The car will bridge the gap in the Skoda line-up between the Fabia and the Octavia and it would be the ideal ticket for those who wish to ply the urban jungle in the week while making tracks in the outback on weekends. Engine and transmission systems would necessarily mirror those already seen on the Fabia and Octavia sold presently in India though with all wheel drive capability expect a boost in both power and torque. The Yeti would predominantly be built with a front wheel drive configuration for the masses while the all wheel drive version would employ VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive gear, having specifically been made to cater to all VW group offerings with transversely mounted engines.
The Skoda Yeti would be priced just around Rs 10 lakhs and in all likelihood would make its debut at Auto Expo in Delhi next January. The Yeti would be put together at the Aurangabad plant as a CKD operation using kits shipped in from Skoda's Kvasiny plant in the Czech Republic.
On the domestic front, Thomas Kuehl inaugurated Europa Auto, the company's 60th 3S dealership in Pune today. Skoda India hopes that by this year end it would have 65 full 3S (sales, service and spares) dealerships and by early March it would also commission the company's first spare parts warehouse in the country. "We have a growing customer base and expanding product lines and a responsive spare parts infrastructure is an important step to keep pace with this growth," informed Kuehl.
In the coming month the company would also be ushering in the all new next generation Skoda Superb, a magnificently engineered new car with room to shame the Mercedes-Benz S-class and the BMW 7-series luxury saloons and bristling with technology and flair with its all new V6 engine. Watch this space.