Skoda Rapid sedan competitive price discussion before launch (Photos)

Earlier this month in Jaipur, Skoda Auto organized a special test drive event of their new mid-sized sedan Rapid, for auto journalists from around the country. The event was presided by none other than Mr Thomas Kuehl, Sales & Marketing, Board Member, Skoda Auto India.

While addressing media, before flagging-off the test drive, Mr Kuehl mentioned some important points about the Rapid sedan. Mr Kuehl stated that Rapid is a car that is specially developed for the Indian car market and has been designed entirely by their team in Europe. As of now, Skoda will launch Rapid to take on segment leaders Hyundai Verna (bestseller in segment) and Honda City. He did not mention Vento because Skoda does not consider Volkswagen as a competitor, but as a family.

Taking these points into account, Skoda is expected to launch Rapid sedan on the 16th of this month with a price of approximately Rs 6.8 lacs. Rapid will have a very big advantage on its side, considering the fact that both diesel and petrol variants of Rapid are powered by 1.6L engines.

Honda City does not have a diesel variant to offer; City base petrol variant is powered by a 1.5L engine and comes with a price of Rs 7.5 lacs. Hyundai Verna petrol and diesel base variants are installed with 1.4L engine, and carry a price tag of Rs 7 lacs.

Though Mr Kuehl does not consider Vento as a competitor, it is still the second best seller in the segment, which means Rapid will have to topple Vento in order to get to the top. Vento is powered by the same 1.6L engine that is installed in Rapid, but has a price of Rs 7 lacs.

After driving Rapid sedan around in Jaipur, we can say that the car performs much better than Vento. Skoda is expecting Rapid sedan to become their bestselling car in India. Skoda is also planning on exporting Rapid to foreign markets starting next year.

Mr Tarun Jha, Head, Marketing, Skoda Auto India, said, “This car is specifically designed for India and the launch will be the global launch for the car. At a later stage, it may be introduced in different markets across the world. We have not decided anything about the exports yet as the car is meant for the domestic market. However, we may export the Rapid to some neighboring countries later.”

This apart, Skoda small car Citigo will not be featured at the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi. Skoda had earlier stated that Citigo will be unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo and will be launched in India later same year. Skoda Citigo will be the smallest Skoda car to be launched in India and is expected to carry a price between Rs 3-5 lacs.

(All prices above are ex-showroom, New Delhi)