Skoda Auto and Volkswagen have opened a new Technology Centre in Pune, India. The opening ceremony was attended by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and other government officials. On behalf of the Volkswagen Group, Skoda is leading the India 2.0 project, which sets out the Volkswagen Group's model campaign on the Indian market. At the new Technology Centre, 250 engineers will be developing vehicles tailored to the needs of customers in the subcontinent. To ensure maximum market proximity, Skoda Auto will achieve radical localisation of 95%, meaning that almost all vehicle components will be made in India.
Andrej Babis, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and other members of his government travelled to Pune for the opening ceremony of the new Technology Centre. The delegation was received by Christian Strube, Skoda Auto Board member for Technical Development and Bohdan Wojnar, Skoda Auto board member for HR as well as Gurpratap Boparai, managing director of Skoda Auto India and, since 1 January 2019, also managing director of Volkswagen India (VWIPL).
Christian Strube, Skoda Auto board member for Technical Development says: "By opening the Technology Centre, we underline our determination to make the India 2.0 project a success. India has excellent universities and highly qualified staff; this state-of-the-art facility will help us to unlock that huge potential – especially with regard to design and development. Local development is the key to success."
Andrej Babis, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said at the opening ceremony: "I am delighted that Skoda Auto is expanding its presence and involvement in India with such significant investments and promising projects. The fact that Skoda is creating great opportunities for the high potential here in India demonstrates how long-term the brand's strategy is."
The Technology Centre in Chakan, around 30 kilometres north of Pune, represents the first major step in implementing the India 2.0 project. Skoda Auto and the Volkswagen Group are jointly investing EUR250m (US$284m) in research and development projects in India; most of the technical development is to be carried out locally. The Indian engineers will be responsible for project management, electronics, infotainment, body design, interior, chassis and complete vehicle.
Gurpratap Boparai, managing director of Skoda Auto India and, since 1 January 2019, also managing director of Volkswagen India (VWIPL), emphasises: "The Technology Centre will lay the foundation for the development of products that are specially designed for Indian market. We expect to roll out the first products, for both the Skoda as well Volkswagen brands, by 2020-21; starting with a mid-sized SUV based on MQB A0 IN platform. A model campaign, led by Skoda, will follow. I am convinced that we can use all the strengths of Skoda to the great benefit of the entire Volkswagen Group."
Approximately 250 engineers will be working at the new Technology Centre. Their activities will focus on developing the subcompact platform MQB A0 IN. 95% of the vehicle components for the radically localised MQB A0 platform will be manufactured locally. The vehicles developed in India will meet the same core standards for safety, quality and design that the Volkswagen Group represents worldwide. At the same time, both Skoda and Volkswagen will be launching models with their own typical characteristics on the market. All of the planned models will meet the stricter safety and emission targets that will come into force in India in 2020 and beyond, which will even allow them to be exported to other emerging economies.
In July 2018, the Volkswagen Group confirmed a EUR1bn investment in the India 2.0 project, which will primarily be used in developing Skoda Auto and Volkswagen vehicles for the Indian market. The first of these models will be a mid-size SUV in the A0 segment, which will be unveiled in 2020.
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