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Petrol Skoda Kushaq lines up against mighty diesels of mid-size SUVs

Hyundai, Kia, Tata Motors, MG and Mahindra & Mahindra offer diesel engine options alongside petrol engines.

June 29, 2021 / 01:09 PM IST
 
 
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Six of the eight SUVs where the new Skoda Kushaq is positioned offer a diesel engine as an option to the petrol. The diesel share of this mid-size SUV segment, priced between Rs 10-17 lakh, is estimated to be between 40-45 percent.

Even though one out two SUVs is powered with a diesel engine, Skoda's parent Volkswagen is not keen on the cheaper fuel. The Kushaq is launched with two petrol engines and no diesel for the moment and Skoda’s marketing team has a job at hand of convincing the customer to go for petrol.

Zac Hollis, brand director, Skoda Auto India said, “In 2023 we will have new emission norms which will require us to have even more investment which will make diesel vehicles even more expensive. I do not think we will be losing out because of a lack of diesel engine offerings.”

Real driving emissions (RDE) is set to be introduced in 2023 only to be preceded by the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) norms proposed to be introduced in 2022. Both norms aim to not only keep emission under check but reduce it even further.

“The best indication of the current demand trend can be gauged from this. We are selling more petrol TSIs in the Rapid and Superb than we were selling petrol and diesel combined earlier. Earlier we have had dealers who asked us to give them diesel because he operated in a diesel-dominated market and now he is coming back asking for more petrol models. We are converting diesel consumers to petrol,” Hollis added.

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Auto-makers like Volkswagen and Renault believe that though the new generation diesel engines were able to meet the 2020 BS-VI emission norms the escalation in cost to meet the 2023 norms will make diesel variants prohibitively high. For now, Hyundai, Kia, Tata Motors, MG and Mahindra & Mahindra offer diesel engine options alongside petrol engines.

The mid-size SUV segment is dominated by the Korean companies, Hyundai and Kia, with the Creta and Seltos, respectively. About 45 percent bookings of the newly launched Hyundai Alcazar are of diesel engine, according to Hyundai India officials.

Priced between Rs 10.49 lakh to Rs 17.59 lakh the Kushaq should revive Skoda’s fortunes in India. The European car brand hopes to sell at least 24,000 units of the Kushaq this year of the 30,000 targeted for all Skoda cars.

“Between 3,000-4,000 units a month is our target for the Kushaq. For a premium mid-size SUV like ours this is a reasonable target to have,” Hollis added. These numbers give Skoda a 10 percent market share of the mid-size SUV segment which is dominated by Hyundai presently.
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Jun 29, 2021 01:09 pm
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