Skoda Slavia sedan targets young families. This is how it may revive segment
Skoda Auto India officially launched its Slavia mid-size sedan in the country last week with the 1.0-litre TSI starting at ₹10.69 lakh (ex showroom) and the Slavia with the far more capable 1.5-litre TSI starting at ₹16.19 lakh (ex showroom). While bookings for the model were opened in November of last year itself, Skoda has maintained it has high expectations from the Slavia despite the fact that the mid-size sedan space has been on a decline.
Speaking to HT Auto on the sidelines of the national media test drive of Slavia in Goa, Zac Hollis - Brand Director at Skoda Auto India, explained why he is confident of Slavia faring strong in a challenging segment. “If you look at why it (mid-size sedan segment) is receding, and it is not necessarily because of changing consumer taste, it is actually because nobody is focused on it. Nobody has brought anything new to the segment for many, many years," he said. “If anybody can bring new life into this segment, it is Skoda."
Underlining Slavia as a premium offering, Hollis further explains that complete with its two engine options, it caters to a wide genre of customers in the country. “This is a family car, this is a big car and it is also a car for when you have arrived. We are targeting young families in India, young professionals who are very confident," he explained, before switching gears to focus on the 1.5-litre TSI engine. “It is an enthusiasts car, there is nothing out there that can compete with it in its segment. Even if you go up a segment, you still don't get the amount of torque that you get with this model."
Hollis was referring to the 250 Nm of torque on offer in the model with the 1.5-litre TSI engine. This engine produces 150 hp and is paired to either a manual transmission box or a DSG. Up against its direct rivals like Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Marutii Suzuki Ciaz, this particular Slavia model does indeed have the bragging rights in terms of power and torque. But Skoda has also been highlighting the styling, spacious cabin and extensive feature list on the Slavia to make a case for it. Expecting to sell around 3,000 units each month, Hollis also confirmed that the company has received a positive response since bookings were opened.
But will the Slavia, the second product from Skoda under its MQB-A0 platform after the Kushaq, manage to mount a challenge to not just its rivals but to SUVs at similar price points as well? That remains to be seen.