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Skoda may develop car for Asian market

26-July-2004
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Skoda may develop car for Asian market

Czech carmaker Skoda Auto has said that it was looking at the possibility of developing a passenger car for the Asian market, including India.

"It will take some time for the whole plan to crystallise," Mr Shashank Vaid, Manager (Marketing), Skoda Auto India, told Business Line.

Mr Vaid said Skoda was studying the Asian market to arrive at a decision. He said the company was not willing to reveal whether it planned to manufacture the Asian car in India as well.

"But customers will always be our top priority." India is no longer a market in itself. Business doesn't have boundaries, he said. Mr Vaid did not also disclose details of the segment that the model will cater to.

Auto analysts say that there is a possibility that Skoda could look at the small car segment, especially the B segment, where competition is high but could still do with more variants.

Skoda will launch Fabia, its small car next year. Fabia is expected to be priced higher than most models in the small car segment.

The market study by Skoda can throw up a couple of possibilities based on which the Czech carmaker will take a decision.

Honda last year said that it was carrying out a feasibility study to launch a small car in India. But it later said it had no plans then to launch a car in that segment.

An auto analyst said that if Skoda succeeded in getting the right model for India, other car manufacturers may consider building cars specifically for the region. They may even consider creating a platform exclusively for Asia - currently the fastest growing market in the world.

Skoda Auto sold around 5,000 cars during 2003 in India, and plans to sell 8,000 cars during the current calendar year. Between January and June, Skoda Auto sold about 4,000 cars, mostly Octavia and Laurent & Klement.

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