Zac Hollis, Brand Director ŠKODA AUTO India, says, “ŠKODA has a rich global legacy spanning more than 125 years. The SLAVIA name represents the beginning of a success story that has seen ŠKODA become one of the most renowned car makers. Rich in tradition, the SLAVIA name will now once again mark the start of a new era for the ŠKODA brand, this time on the Indian market. The SLAVIA will bring forth impeccable build quality, reliability and driving experience. We look forward to substantially growing our volumes in India and the SLAVIA will play a key role in delivering this objective.”
After the KUSHAQ SUV presented in spring, the ŠKODA SLAVIA is the Czech manufacturer’s second new model developed specifically for the Indian subcontinent. This is the region where ŠKODA AUTO oversees all Volkswagen Group activities as well as the INDIA 2.0 project, with the latter encompassing a model offensive comprising a total of four new cars for the A0 segment. The KUSHAQ and the SLAVIA as well as two Volkswagen models are all based on the MQB-A0-IN version of the Modular Transverse Toolkit, which ŠKODA has adapted to meet the particular needs of the Indian market. In vehicle production, ŠKODA AUTO achieves localization of up to 95 percent.
The SLAVIA name harks back to the very early days of ŠKODA AUTO. It was in 1895 that founding fathers Václav Laurin and Václav Klement first started repairing bicycles in Mladá Boleslav. Soon they began designing their own bikes, successfully marketing them under the SLAVIA brand name from 1896 onwards. In the case of the new saloon for the Indian market, this name pays homage to the company’s beginnings. While the ŠKODA KUSHAQ took inspiration from Indian tradition, the SLAVIA represents the close ties between the Indo-European as well as Czech and Indian cultures.
In the early days of the 20th century, the bicycles manufactured in Mladá Boleslav under the brand name SLAVIA stood for reliability, affordability and inventiveness. These are still the key virtues defining ŠKODA AUTO’s Simply Clever philosophy today. The name SLAVIA quickly became synonymous with quality and innovation, and the same designation was also adopted for the motorbikes introduced by Laurin & Klement in 1899. More than 120 years later, the new ŠKODA SLAVIA embodies these same ideals and will perfectly complement the OCTAVIA and SUPERB models in India, which have become highly regarded in the subcontinent over the past two decades. The new SLAVIA will once again be an elegant, powerful and safe saloon car, which is exactly what Indian buyers expect from ŠKODA.
2021 is a year of expansion for ŠKODA AUTO in India. As part of the INDIA 2.0 project, Volkswagen Group has invested one billion euros in the development of four new vehicles (two ŠKODA and two Volkswagen models). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the new ŠKODA KUSHAQ has had a successful start, with more than 10,000 orders received since its launch in July. Together, the KUSHAQ and the new SLAVIA are expected to boost sales in India considerably. The country plays a key role in the Czech car maker’s global growth plans.
In developing the KUSHAQ and the SLAVIA for India, ŠKODA AUTO focused on the expectations of Indian customers, which are changing dynamically. Cost, range and comfort are particularly important considerations. At the same time, ŠKODA AUTO is investing in the ongoing expansion of its Indian dealer network. The Czech brand is currently represented in more than 100 cities, with 165 sales and service locations. The goal is to increase the number of locations to 225 by the end of 2022.