With Rapid’s future uncertain, Skoda has decided to skip the launch of a CNG version of the sedan
With petrol prices touching new high in India, many OEMs are planning to launch CNG variants of their existing models. Skoda too had plans to launch CNG Rapid. A prototype of the CNG-powered Rapid was spotted late last year at a CNG refelling station in India.
Earlier in March this year, Zac Hollis, Director of Skoda Auto India, had confirmed that CNG version of Rapid was indeed on test, via his Twitter handle. This suggested that Skoda is indeed planning on launching a Rapid CNG in India.
No Rapid CNG
In a reply to twitter user Akshay Ballal, Hollis has now stated that the company has no plans of launching a CNG version of the Rapid. He further stated that Skoda is currently reviewing its future model plans but as of now, there are no confirmed plans for any CNG models.
This is in line with a recent report published last month which said discussions for the end of production of Rapid in India is currently underway. This signifies the model’s uncertain future in the domestic market which may soon see the end of the light in the coming months. Rapid has been on sale in India for almost a decade now and feels outdated in comparison to other Skoda cars on sale.
New Skoda Mid-Size Sedan
With Rapid unlikely to continue in the long run, introducing a new CNG model of the sedan on its way out would not make the best marketing sense. Instead, the Czech carmaker is focusing on developing a new C-segment mid-size sedan which is slated to launch earlier next year. Tentatively named Slavia, this upcoming sedan will be larger than Rapid in terms of dimensions and will be underpinned by the heavily localised MQB A0 IN architecture.
This new sedan has been spotted testing on a few occasions in recent months. Latest spy shots are credit to Ishan Kulkarni, who spotted the car on Mumbai-Pune Expressway. It will likely be powered by 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI turbo petrol engine which is capable of churning out 114 bhp and 178 Nm of peak torque. This unit will be coupled with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.
A more powerful 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol motor could also be offered in the higher-spec trims. This engine is capable of returning an output of 148 bhp and 250 Nm of peak torque. In addition to a six-speed manual, this engine could also be available with a 7-speed DSG automatic transmission.
The new Skoda mid-size sedan will be a more premium offering than Rapid and will be slotted in between the outgoing Rapid and the new-gen Octavia. This sedan will offer more interior space and more features such as an electric sunroof, touchscreen infotainment, etc. Therefore, it will be a more worthy competitor to the likes of Honda City and Hyundai Verna. Just like Kushaq, this new sedan will also have high localized content.