The company will focus on VAG's India invasion instead.
After years of discussions and investigations, Skoda has decided to delay its U.S. launch, as it will focus its resources on Volkswagen Group’s low-cost project for India. The Czech manufacturer will lead VAG’s Indian invasion, following the failed cooperation between Volkswagen and local automaker Tata Motors.
“We will need more time to work on the US plans now,” Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier told Autocar. “The Group has asked us to lead development of a platform with a strong focus on India and to investigate building that business sustainably and in a predictable manner. That is a huge task, and we must always approach projects one step at a time. There is no hurry to rush into the U.S. and no deadline to even decide if we should be looking to go there. There’s no need to make a decision right away.”
Currently, Skoda is assessing whether Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 platform, that’s underpinning cars like the new SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo, is suitable for a range of budget cars for the Indian market. Another option for the company is to work on an entirely new architecture, but that would mean VAG will have to set up the entire manufacturing infrastructure in the country.
“It’s clear that without radical localization and the related cost advantages, we will be unable to turn the MQB A0 platform into a competitive tool in India,” Maier told the British publication.
By 2020, when India is expected to become the world’s third largest auto market, new and tougher crash and emissions standards will come into effect, which will make Skoda’s task even harder.