VW, Skoda Working On Compact Sedans For India

Faisal Ali Khan
by Faisal Ali Khan
vw skoda working on compact sedans for india

The Volkswagen Up! and Skoda Citigo are compact cars with a huge potential for emerging markets like India. As much as Indians love small cars, they are big fans of sedans too. Thus everyone wants to upgrade to a sedan as soon as possible. However, big sedans are priced quite high since they attract additional excise duty. In India, a car which is less than 4-meters in length and has a gasoline engine less than 1.2-litre capacity or diesel engine less than 1.5-litre capacity, is classified as a small car.

A small car attracts only 12% excise duty, as compared to 27% for big cars. No matter what the body type is, as long as the vehicle meets the above criteria, it is a small car. This small car classification has led to manufacturers coming up with compact sedans. The upcoming Ford EcoSport meets the conditions. Maruti Suzuki has developed a sub 4-meter version of the Swift DZire (Swift sedan), while Mahindra is working on a sub 4-meter Verito (Logan).

Volkswagen has also expressed its interest to develop a sub 4-meter compact sedan for the Indian market. This vehicle will use the underpinnings of the Up! and would challenge the Toyota Etios and Ford Classic (last generation Fiesta). Pricing could start at around $9,000 for the gasoline powered version, while the diesel powered model will retail at a $2000 premium. Skoda will follow up with a sedan version of the Citigo as well, which can help them boost volumes significantly in the sedan loving continent.

Does a three-box with limited trunk capacity appeal to you?

Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the auto industry of India.

Join the conversation
  • Tatracitroensaab Tatracitroensaab on Oct 22, 2012

    I doubt that these things would appeal to many people on this site, although actually the sedan rendering of the up! doesnt look half bad... I think this could do okay in America - a more premium looking vehicle for those who want something cheap, fuel efficient, and small...

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    • Ranwhenparked Ranwhenparked on Oct 23, 2012

      @Faisal Ali Khan Light trucks are more popular than passenger cars here, but when it comes to cars, Americans absolutely prefer notch backs to hatcbacks. I believe the Fiesta is the only current model where the hatch version outsells the sedan (which Ford developed specifically to improve the car's chances here), and that fact really has caught everyone by surprise, including Ford. Conventional wisdom is that hatchback = crappy 1970s econobox, sedan = respectable modern car. You would think the success of the Prius would have changed that perception, but I don't think it really has. The Prius is it's own thing, people don't see it as a midsize hatchback, they just see it as a Prius. And note that this Prius has a surprisingly convenient trunk.

  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Oct 22, 2012

    VAG, you sonofabeeyotches!! We in the U.S. want...no...DEMAND...Skoda Yetis!

  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Oct 22, 2012

    I don't understand the desire for tiny sedans in any market. The smaller the car, the more useful a hatch becomes, and the more useless a trunk becomes. And don't even get me started on all the current mid-size swoopy-coupey sedans that LOOK like hatchbacks, but have a tiny little trunk opening. At least the Up! and Citigo have upright rooflines that might mean normal size people can sit in the back seats.

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    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Oct 23, 2012

      @Marcelo de Vasconcellos Hatches don't have to be the sawed-off shorter versions of sedans that they typically were in the 70's. As in many things, Saab was way ahead in this - build the hatch on the same plan as a sedan, and get simply TONS of cargo room and convenient loading. And as I said, if you are going to style the car so that it LOOKS like a 5dr hatch, you might as well make it a hatch and reap the benefits. A styling feature that harkens back to when a "trunk" was literally a steamer trunk strapped to the back of the car makes no sense to me at all. Why not have separate flowing fenders and strapped on chrome headlight nacelles too?

  • Rental Man Rental Man on Oct 22, 2012

    Badonkadonk. These cars need more Junk in the Trunk.