Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and other members of his government travelled to Pune for the opening ceremony of the new Technology Center. The delegation was received by Christian Strube, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Technical Development and Bohdan Wojnar, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for HR as well as Gurpratap Boparai, Managing Director of Skoda Auto India Private Ltd. and, since 1 January 2019, also Managing Director of Volkswagen India Private Limited (VWIPL).
Christian Strube, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Technical Development says: “By opening the Technology Center, we underline our determination to make the INDIA 2.0 project a success. India has excellent universities and highly qualified staff; this state-of-the-art facility will help us to unlock that huge potential – especially with regard to design and development. Local development is the key to success.”
Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said at the opening ceremony: “I am delighted that ŠKODA AUTO is expanding its presence and involvement in India with such significant investments and promising projects. The fact that ŠKODA is creating great opportunities for the high potential here in India demonstrates how long-term the brand’s strategy is.”
The Technology Center in Chakan, around 30 kilometres north of Pune, represents the first major step in implementing the INDIA 2.0 project. ŠKODA AUTO and the Volkswagen Group are jointly investing 250 million euros in research and development projects in India; most of the technical development is to be carried out locally. The Indian engineers will be responsible for project management, electronics, infotainment, body design, interior, chassis and complete vehicle.
Gurpratap Boparai, Managing Director of Skoda Auto India Private Ltd and, since 1 January 2019, also Managing Director of Volkswagen India Private Limited (VWIPL), 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 ŠKODA as well Volkswagen brands, by 2020-21; starting with a mid-sized SUV based on MQB A0 IN platform. A model campaign, led by ŠKODA, will follow. I am convinced that we can use all the strengths of ŠKODA to the great benefit of the entire Volkswagen Group.”
Approximately 250 engineers will be working at the new Technology Center. Their activities will focus on developing the subcompact platform MQB A0 IN. 95% of the vehicle components for the radically localized MQB A0 platform will be manufactured locally. The vehicles developed in India will meet the same core standards for safety, quality and design that the Volkswagen Group represents worldwide. At the same time, both ŠKODA and Volkswagen will be launching models with their own typical characteristics on the market. All of the planned models will meet the stricter safety and emission targets that will come into force in India in 2020 and beyond, which will even allow them to be exported to other emerging economies.
In July 2018, the Volkswagen Group confirmed a EUR 1 billion investment in the INDIA 2.0 project, which will primarily be used in developing ŠKODA AUTO and Volkswagen vehicles for the Indian market. The first of these models will be a mid-size SUV in the A0 segment, which will be unveiled in 2020.