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Old 17th May 2017, 12:44   #1
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Default Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

Sudhir Rao, the Managing Director has resigned from Skoda. Mr.Rao will serve his term until June 30th.

Skoda Auto officially announced that Mr.Rao will be leaving the company of his own accord. Mr.Rao was responsible for taking various tough decisions that resulted in improvement in service and discontinuance of loss making models such as the Fabia.

Mr. Rao said he was leaving Skoda to take on new challenges outside the automotive sector.


Source and more info:

https://www.google.co.in/amp/m.econo...w/58702722.cms
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Old 17th May 2017, 13:54   #2
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

Sudhir Rao has done a commendable job at the helm of Skoda. He has managed to almost turn around a brand that was falling apart. I think the next person just needs to iron out the few issues and Skoda can have good times ahead with Kodiaq and possibly Karoq coming to its portfolio. For Sudhir, there is nothing more to be done at Skoda I guess.
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Old 17th May 2017, 13:57   #3
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

I too believe Sudhir is responsible for stopping the downfall of Skoda in India. He ironed out a lot of issues with the brand and especially after sales service which once again made Skoda worth considering. I wonder how the person replacing him will take things forward and I just hope it's for the better of the brand.

Last edited by ajmat : 17th May 2017 at 14:08. Reason: Person not Personal
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:45   #4
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

A good man.

Made Skoda owners feel that they are actually "heard" by the company.

And yes, did make a big difference in the servicing aspects undoubtedly.

Im sure he will continue to shine, with his excellent Customer Centric attitude!

Good luck Sudhir!
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Old 17th May 2017, 16:10   #5
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

When I was searching for my next car 2 years back, my heart was on Octavia. However I was very reluctant because of horror stories of Skoda A.S.S. During that time I heard his interview on Overdrive. This interview was taken at the time of launch of updated Yeti. His interview assured me about the priorities of the company and seriousness of the Top Management about improving the infamous A.S.S. and I took the plunge thereafter.
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Old 18th May 2017, 13:38   #6
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

I'm going against the tide here. A good man, no doubt, but I don't think he achieved anything at Skoda. In his tenure, Skoda India's sales either decreased or remained at embarrassing levels. This, despite him getting some great cars (Octavia + Superb) from Germany. The Octavia's launch was botched up with not enough supplies, sending customers to Toyota / VW showrooms. History repeated itself with the Superb diesel that was launched, but unavailable for 6 - 7 months! Who launches a car without having the assembly sorted out? The scams continued - in open & shut cases like this, Skoda took terribly long to respond. The dealership count also shrunk under Sudhir Rao's tenure.

Again, a good man, but he didn't really do much in the 5 years at the helm.

He appeared to be confused in terms of strategy as well. Sometimes, he boasted about focusing only on the premium segment. A couple of months later, there was a u-turn and he talked about the mass market.
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Old 19th May 2017, 07:41   #7
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I'm going against the tide here. A good man, no doubt, but I don't think he achieved anything at Skoda.
I agree! Arrived with loads of positive air, cut the white elephant Fabia, but thatís about it. He had a golden chance to bring back the glory of brand Octavia, but couldnít really make the good product stand out. Yeti facelift was another failure. For me, a not-so-niche brand became very niche under his leadership.
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Old 19th May 2017, 09:06   #8
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

The focus of VW group is on Europe and China. The sales from India is like decimal approximation error for the VW group. So with this strategy of the parent company it is tough to make a perceptible change though you may have a good record from past.
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:55   #9
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I'm going against the tide here. A good man, no doubt, but I don't think he achieved anything at Skoda. In his tenure, Skoda India's sales either decreased or remained at embarrassing levels. This, despite him getting some great cars (Octavia + Superb) from Germany.
...
He appeared to be confused in terms of strategy as well. Sometimes, he boasted about focusing only on the premium segment. A couple of months later, there was a u-turn and he talked about the mass market.
I agree with you here.

Had the fortune of meeting him in 2013, and had a long discussion about what many of us felt regarding Skoda (The 2013 Skoda Octavia | Views of an Unofficial Expert). Almost 4 years later, customers are no happier than they were at that time.
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Old 19th May 2017, 19:16   #10
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

The way forward for Skoda, if they are really willing to listen. 1st is to broaden your base, open more dealerships. Every city above 10 lac population should have a Skoda Dealership. 2nd, bring back the mass market cars like Fabia. 3rd, train your service technicians well. Go out of the way to redeem your service network. Only then, can you get a foothold in India. Loyalists like me are alive and kicking and love your products. Just take 1 step and we will take 2.

Cheers...
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Old 21st May 2017, 18:26   #11
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
In his tenure, Skoda India's sales either decreased or remained at embarrassing levels. This, despite him getting some great cars (Octavia + Superb) from Germany.
I feel skoda's sales have fallen due to multiple reasons.
1. The fabia was dropped. (the relatively mass market car that brings in the volumes)
2. D segment in general has shrunk in India.
3. At a time when the market moved on to cross overs and SUVs skoda did not have a competent product. The yeti looked quite odd and is still not available with an auto box. Most buyers looking for a premium crossover would definitely want an automatic.
4. VAG's unreliable 7 speed DSG havent really helped matters either.

In My opinion Skoda's sales were very strong when they were no other competent products on sale in India at that time.
During the days of the original Octavia and Laura there was no other car with a good diesel in the price range. And even the Laura was relatively cheap compared to today's Octavia.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 17:56   #12
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Default Re: Sudhir Rao leaves Skoda - taking up challenges outside automotive sector

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Originally Posted by kevintomin View Post
The focus of VW group is on Europe and China. The sales from India is like decimal approximation error for the VW group. So with this strategy of the parent company it is tough to make a perceptible change though you may have a good record from past.
Agreed.
Most of the ask from the higher ups is what translates to action on ground.
e.g. the expectation vs reality
Quote:
1. The fabia was dropped. (the relatively mass market car that brings in the volumes)
If the higher ups demand higher operating income from India business? Are you going to sell Fabia at higher price and commit business suicide in hatchback segment? You surely can't keep selling volume product at low margins, considering the ask from Firangs.
Quote:
3. At a time when the market moved on to cross overs and SUVs skoda did not have a competent product. The yeti looked quite odd and is still not available with an auto box. Most buyers looking for a premium crossover would definitely want an automatic.
Same issue, the global organization needs to have the vision and direction for India. No point trying to get something to India and get beaten because of price.
Quote:
4. VAG's unreliable 7 speed DSG havent really helped matters either.
Again, not really an issue that can be entirely sorted locally.

Last edited by alpha1 : 22nd May 2017 at 17:57.
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