Skoda is one of the oldest European car manufacturers in India, having launched its first product, the first generation Octavia, way back in 2001. Volkswagen, which owns Skoda, only entered India in 2007. Skoda launched the second generation Octavia globally in 2004. However, the Czech company did not want to discontinue the old Octavia in the Indian market. Thus the second generation Octavia was re-badged as the Laura, while the first gen model continued to sell, till there were no takers in 2010. It is getting worse.
Skoda will officially unveil the third generation Octavia (based on the VW MQB platform) next week. Skoda will bring the new Octavia to India in May 2013, badged as the Octavia, enabling them to sell both second and third generation models side by side. The Laura will continue to sell for sometime, after which it will be replaced by the Rapid sold in the European markets. Now why isn’t Skoda naming the Rapid a Rapid in India?
Simply because Skoda already sells the Rapid in India, which is not the same as the European Rapid. The Indian Rapid is a re-badged and slightly modified version of the Volkswagen Vento (Polo sedan). You follow?
In today’s day and age, when car makers keep global and domestic products the same on every front, why is Skoda confusing everyone with their naming strategy in India?
Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.