Based on the Volkswagen Group’s successful strategic plan India 2.0, which committed a €1 billion investment in the Indian automotive sector, the south Asian country has become a “key focus market” for the entire Volkswagen Group, said Klaus Zellmer, ŠKODA AUTO global CEO, in an interview with ET Auto.com.
India, the world’s seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous country, ranked among ŠKODA’s top three markets globally in the first half of this year, Zellmer told ET Auto, his first interview with Indian media since taking the reins at ŠKODA in July.
“We are well on track to more than double our sales in 2022 over the last year. Our success gives us tremendous confidence for a long-term, sustainable journey in India, which is an integral part of all future strategy planning,” he added.
Today, ŠKODA products are 20% in the Indian market the company currently serves. “We are in the process of discussion the way forward to build our portfolio. I am deeply convinced that both Volkswagen and ŠKODA have a distinct role to play in our growth in India,” said the CEO to ET Auto. “We expect India to drive future growth for ŠKODA AUTO.”
“India is completely changing; it is moving very rapidly towards the batter electric game. Initially everybody thought India would not adapt as rapidly as it has,” said Zellmer.
The carmaker will balance its future in India between ICE and EVs. “We have already brought some ŠKODA ENYAQs to India, which are being tested across the country,” Zellmer explained. “On the way forward, we need to find the sweet spot in terms of product mix and timing in introducing BEV to the market.”
Describing the company’s step-by-step approach to growing business in India, Zellmer said, “It is really about capacity, available resources, and the transformation that the society, the market and our Group are going through. All these factors will be the basis for product decisions.”
ŠKODA’s plan for EVs in India will most likely be: “first fully built up vehicles, then parts and components – assembly – and eventually local production, depending on how quickly the market matures and the ecosystem develops, especially the charging infrastructure,” Zellmer said.