Volkswagen India inaugurated a new Technology Center in Pune today. Built at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore, this new tech center will help in the development of future Skoda and Volkswagen cars for India. Products developed under the INDIA 2.0 project will achieve up to 95% localisation. A total of 250 engineers will be working at this center.
Gurpratap Boparai, Head – Volkswagen Group India, emphasizes: “The Technology Center will lay the foundation for the development of products that are specially designed for Indian market. We expect to roll out the first products, for both the Skoda as well Volkswagen brands, by 2020-21; starting with a mid-sized SUV based on MQB A0 IN platform. A model campaign, led by Skoda, will follow. I am convinced that we can use all the strengths of Skoda to the great benefit of the entire Volkswagen Group.”
This confirms that the first SUV from the VW Group for India will be a mid sized Skoda SUV. It will be based on the Vision X concept, which was showcased at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The India-spec Skoda SUV will debut as a concept at the 2020 Auto Expo. A similar sized SUV is also being readied for European market, which was teased earlier this week.
Skoda Vision X based SUV, which will be the smallest SUV in the Skoda lineup, is yet to be named. It will probably get a name starting with ‘K’ just as is seen on the two other SUVs Kodiaq and Karoq. For India, the SUV will be based on MQB A0 IN platform, while for Europe, the SUV will be based on the MQB platform. A different platform for India is being readied so as to keep costs in check.
Speaking about design, it is believed that the exteriors will see new design elements with raised headlamps, slim DRLs – a setup which we have now seen on board the Hyundai Kona and the Tata Harrier. At the rear the SUV will get L shaped tail lamps and bumper reflector. Set to compete with the likes of Hyundai Creta, the Skoda SUV interiors could feature virtual cockpit, freestanding touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather seats, soft touch material on door panels and dashboard, rear AC vents and a multi function steering wheel.
Skoda’s new SUV for India will be powered by a petrol as well as a diesel engine option in India. These will be newly developed range of engines, which will meet BS6 emission norms. Not much details are revealed about the engines, but they are believed to be about 1.5 liter in capacity, with output ranging in the 125 hp region. Launch is expected in 2021. Starting price could be in the Rs 10 lakhs range, thanks to heavy localization levels of up to 95%.