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Old 2nd October 2012, 15:13   #1
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Default Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

BHPians,

Caught this interview article on the October 2012 edition of AutoCar India. This is probably one of the first announcements from the new ND - Sudhir Rao - himself after taking over as MD of Skoda Auto India in January 2012. Since this is coming directly from him, let's rule off all sorts of speculation.

I could not find a link online to point you all to. But, here's the juice of the interview as in the article:

Re-Prioritization:
1. Company's Org structure. By this, it's obvious that the MD has rightly identified that there's something wrong internally. Good job!
2. After-Sales-Service. The article states that the MD is now personally reviewing all complaint letters and involved in responding to the dealer and/or the internal after-sales team.
3. The Fabia - he intends to bring back lost focus on this capable performer. The MD seems to have set a personal goal of selling close to 100,000 Fabias four years from now. (Personally for me, hurray! Spares shouldn't be an issue after the recent speculation of the citigo stealing the Fabia's spot)

Localisation:
Plans to increase localisation of parts. Says that close to 96% is possible.

Citigo:
The MD has no firm plans until the position of the Fabia is re-affirmed.

A new Laura or Ocatavia:
The MD states that this segment seems to have taken the biggest hit. Considering that this segment is steadily declining and will continue to do so for at least another 1-2 years, appropriate plans are being made.

What do I see from this as a Skoda customer myself??
1. HOPE. Hope that Skoda Auto India is still doing their bit to regain lost faith. With re-assuring words like these from the MD himself, I expect to see improved responses to the customer from the dealerships.

2. Lower Prices of Spares. With the said localisation, the prices of spares can come down further thus doing away current fears of possible heavy repair bills. From what I read on another thread on this forum, I think prices of some spares have already come down to 1/3rd.

3. As a proud owner of a Fabia, so far at least, I am happy to see that the product will not be shelved off contrary to public opinion in the near future at least. With that said, I'm crossing fingers and hoping for the TSI motors to come in. It's no crime to hope. Isn't it?
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Old 2nd October 2012, 15:28   #2
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

Skoda in India has gained an enviable reputation for premium cars which is contrary to its world wide perception of workhorses from VW stable but their SASS reputation and bad mouthing about service and spares cost have made many run away from buying one.

Though they did come up with some big hits like the Octy and Superb, they have been faltering all the way. IMO two cars which had much bigger potential but failed to take off are the Yeti and Fabia.

Only if they-

Launched Yeti at a much more sensible price with diesel motors with varied power bands (110, 140 and a whopping 170 Bhp from the same motor sold in other countries) at different price points, targetted the urban SUV crazy crowd and 4x2 in the first place. Even now its not all lost and can make amends

Fabia was touted to be a sibling of the Swift with similar looks and proportion. Their 3 pot mill and some unrealistic trim levels (base trim has nothing while top end has at a premium price) and lack of consistent brand promotion has brought it down to a few numbers. Hope it gets a minor facelift, better motor and rationalized trim levels and lo it could be a worthy Swift competitor all over again.

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Old 2nd October 2012, 15:28   #3
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

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Old 2nd October 2012, 16:24   #4
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

Past cannot be forgotten so easily, That too in india. They had a very bad customer relationship and this cannot be corrected in a day or two. this will go on for an year or so.

I have only a Question. What would happen if the MD goes on a leave for couple of days or falls ill? Everything would be back to the old regular service and experience.

Dude, i believe that customer satisfaction is a Quality which one needs to inculcate. This cannot be bought overnight by a dream or a thought. This is like growing a tree, if you plant a seed today, you will have fruits may be 4-5 years down the line. Only if you dont kill the tree yourself with out feeding or chopping off.

This is a difficult move for any organization to work hard for so many long years. Lets wait and watch how Skoda plays this time.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 16:44   #5
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mempheS.D
BHPians,

Caught this interview article on the October 2012 edition of AutoCar India. This is probably one of the first announcements from the new ND - Sudhir Rao - himself after taking over as MD of Skoda Auto India in January 2012. Since this is coming directly from him, let's rule off all sorts of speculation.

I could not find a link online to point you all to. But, here's the juice of the interview as in the article:

Re-Prioritization:

What do I see from this as a Skoda customer myself??
1. HOPE. Hope that Skoda Auto India is still doing their bit to regain lost faith. With re-assuring words like these from the MD himself, I expect to see improved responses to the customer from the dealerships.

2. Lower Prices of Spares. With the said localisation, the prices of spares can come down further thus doing away current fears of possible heavy repair bills. From what I read on another thread on this forum, I think prices of some spares have already come down to 1/3rd.

3. As a proud owner of a Fabia, so far at least, I am happy to see that the product will not be shelved off contrary to public opinion in the near future at least. With that said, I'm crossing fingers and hoping for the TSI motors to come in. It's no crime to hope. Isn't it?

I read this interview too on the internet edition of AutoCar which I subscribe to.

Sudhir Rao is a good bloke. Will do his best I feel sure.
In general a responsive and 'consumer oriented' person.

I would even hazard a guess here that his departure from Renault India could have had something to do with that company's lack of consumer oriented philosophy.
Personally I look forward to some good times at Skoda India. They are great cars and just need a bit more focus and committment on the part of the sellers and service guys to make for an unbeatable overall package and experience.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 18:18   #6
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

Well , strong words and i hope that this does translate into something on the ground quickly and does not end up being theoretical.

Good news on the Fabia but was expected , there was an article out even prior to this one ( On Economic times if i recall correctly) stating the 100,000 target in the next 4 years and more importantly increasing the localization % of the car overall.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 18:27   #7
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

How I wish Skoda Yeti was cheaper. Maybe just maybe with localisation they could have priced 4x2 Yeti base version at 11L ex showroom. It would have been a good performer, I recon.
Looking at a Duster which I have booked, I feel bad. It's interior quality is hopeless. I so wish Yeti Interiors were in Duster.

Only if wishes were horses
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Old 2nd October 2012, 19:17   #8
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I would even hazard a guess here that his departure from Renault India could have had something to do with that company's lack of consumer oriented philosophy.
I do not have any links to understand why he would have left. But this is what I found on googling.

"Renault, he said, was well on its way to transforming its image in India. “It is, therefore, time to move on to other challenges,” he felt. Mr. Rao told this correspondent that a few “interesting options are evolving” for him. "

If this is really true, which I would alternatively introspect as a diplomatic justification that everyone provides while switching firms, then Skoda Auto India should probably be on the right path. I haven't seen any signs yet, but maybe as someone commented earlier on this thread, it takes time to RE-build a shattered image.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acroback View Post
How I wish Skoda Yeti was cheaper. Maybe just maybe with localisation they could have priced 4x2 Yeti base version at 11L ex showroom.
True that. The Yeti is on my wishlist too. I never liked the looks of the Yeti UNTIL that day I stepped into one. And boy was I smiling all through - not for the spirited performance, but a day dream of how I can ferry around a family in that car happily and securely. Built and feels extremely solid and secure. Maybe the only addition that I would prefer would be an auto box mated to it but then the prices would be sent up into the league of the Fortuner or beyond.

Btw, the Duster is a good choice too. The way I see it, it does the job well. Maybe the shoddy interiors are something one would need to live with, but then you can always spruce it up with after-market fitments and voila.. you have a sub-10lakh Yeti.. almost.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 19:24   #9
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

IMHO, Skoda must accept the fact that it is not a premium brand. That will help them work without any (undue) attitude in their *** (pun intended!) and bring down the prices of their cars.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 21:13   #10
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Leave skoda aside, the policy of opening 100s of showrooms in a short span of time ala renault is short sighted and a marketing gimmick to some extent. In the race to grab more customers we are finding that renault/skoda/nissan dealers are not only incompetent but hopeless. Without a proper service network 100s of showrooms are pointless. What will showooms do without competent service personnels and mechanics?
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Old 2nd October 2012, 21:57   #11
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

Skoda definitely has management issues that have been festering for a long time which is the only explanation for the appalling reputation and their indifference to addressing it inspite of it being common knowledge. That's the scary part, they haven't really done anything to change this perception.

Lack of customer focus has meant a complete breakdown in customer service, dealer management and accountability issues and the company's own responsiveness and willingness to address issues responsibly.

The result a tattered customer focus reputation with few having a good perception of Skoda and perceptions matter.

Since other car makers are able to do it there must be a sauce to getting customer servie right. Pricing is another factor that must be looked at, but given VW as the parent company has similar issues, I wonder how effective Mr Sudhir Rao will be, but best of luck to him.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 23:27   #12
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Default Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

I guess, Skoda was the strategy of VW group in India to test out waters, find out what works and what doesn't, before unleashing the parent company onto Indian Shores.

That having being done, the parent brand doing reasonably well, I think its time to end the confusion about existence of the dual brands. But seemingly Skoda, itself has come to be associated with some brand value (thanks to that solid Octavia) and they are not sure about moving the brand out.

But personally, I think,having multiple brands, only adds to confusion and does not really speak about efficiencies either. (I know Renault Nissan is also party to it)
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Old 3rd October 2012, 05:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mempheS.D
Btw, the Duster is a good choice too. The way I see it, it does the job well. Maybe the shoddy interiors are something one would need to live with, but then you can always spruce it up with after-market fitments and voila.. you have a sub-10lakh Yeti.. almost.

Fellow member Ampere has the 85BHP Duster.
I drove it on the weekend.
It feels pretty solid and is nice to drive. I have test driven the 110BHP version and this is the first time that I have even seen the 85BHP version let alone drive it!
I did not feel a marked lack of 'juice' at all, in the city driving environment.
Its ride quality and general comfort inside was quite excellent.
Yes it has hard plastics but relatively few vehicles in this price bracket have the soft touch expensive feel interiors like the Europeans do.
I will not be as harsh as many others and say that the Duster has really cheap interiors etc. I will, however say that the vehicle is designed to a 'cost' and they have short changed us on safety and other equipment. However, for most Indians, this is the 'affordable SUV dream' come true!
As per Australia Top Gear, much as it pains me to say it, they feel that the Yeti itself, in comparison to the VW Tiguan and Audi Q3, has hard plastics etc and not much finesse.
Now this just serves as an illustration that all things in this world are completely relative depending on who is standing in judgement!
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Old 3rd October 2012, 08:23   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan

Fellow member Ampere has the 85BHP Duster.
I drove it on the weekend.
It feels pretty solid and is nice to drive. I have test driven the 110BHP version and this is the first time that I have even seen the 85BHP version let alone drive it!
I did not feel a marked lack of 'juice' at all, in the city driving environment.
Its ride quality and general comfort inside was quite excellent.
Yes it has hard plastics but relatively few vehicles in this price bracket have the soft touch expensive feel interiors like the Europeans do.
I will not be as harsh as many others and say that the Duster has really cheap interiors etc. I will, however say that the vehicle is designed to a 'cost' and they have short changed us on safety and other equipment. However, for most Indians, this is the 'affordable SUV dream' come true!
As per Australia Top Gear, much as it pains me to say it, they feel that the Yeti itself, in comparison to the VW Tiguan and Audi Q3, has hard plastics etc and not much finesse.
Now this just serves as an illustration that all things in this world are completely relative depending on who is standing in judgement!
Well said. No point in comparing vehicles in different class and price point. Duster is the best amoung the vehicles in it's class and price. If one has more moolah., yeti is a better choice. Spend some more, q3 or x3 becomes better.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 08:53   #15
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Smile Re: Autocar: Skoda Auto India re-prioritizing

A good leader at the top does have its effect on the lower rung provided the leader keep to their word.

A new change of guard at Skoda I am sure will bring about the changes so much needed for the manufacturer and the one strong area which needs to be heavily focussed is the after sales and I feel the dealers should also be eqaully responsive to the inititatives proposed. I hope new MD does pay enough attention to this area.

I am sure forwarding the Skoda woes thread on Team BHP would be an eye opener for the top managment. Hope things do change at Skoda India, fingers crossed.
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