Moving forward, Skoda will be leading the VW Group’s product development campaign in India. Volkswagen’s MQB AO-IN platform, a heavily localized version of the global MQB AO, will underpin all the locally developed VW and Skoda products for our market.
The first VW Group product to be developed with India as specific focus will be a compact SUV based on the aforementioned architecture. Skoda’s Hyundai Creta rival is expected to hit the market in 2020 and a Volkswagen version is also expected in due course.
Once the compact SUV launch is executed, the VW Group is interested in reviving the existing nameplates in its bid to strengthen the portfolio. This implies that the MQB AO-IN will also underpin the next generation models of Volkswagen Polo, Vento, Ameo, and Skoda Rapid in India. In international markets, the latest version of Polo has already graduated to the MQB AO platform.
The common architecture will allow VW Group to increase the local content from 70% in its existing locally manufactured models to around 90%. Besides, there will be a significant benefit from the economies of scale which could lead to highly competitive price tags.
The next generation Volkswagen Vento and Skoda Rapid sedans are expected to be ready soon after the launch of Skoda’s compact SUV. That would mean a launch time frame sometime in 2021. The next gen Polo and Ameo are expected to follow a year later.
The products based on MQB AO-IN will feature new BS-VI ready petrol and diesel engines that will be made in India. Transmission is one of the very few critical components that could be imported. Compared to the existing models that are getting long in the tooth, the new gen Vento, Rapid, Polo and Ameo would be safer, more spacious, and will have modern interiors.