In a price-sensitive market like India, customers are ready to pay the premium when it comes to safety ratings. According to top officials at Škoda Auto, the company has been selling every global car with a 5-star rating (Euro NCAP) in terms of safety even though it charges a premium from customers.
“It is the actual cost that goes into a car and if you make customers aware of that by using examples and explaining to them properly, there is a willingness to pay a certain premium for that type of safety. We have seen that in the markets and we have had discussions with the customers here too,” Christian Cahn von Seelen, Executive Director, Sales, Marketing and Digital, Škoda Auto Volkswagen India, told businessline.
The company sells a sedan Slavia, and SUVs Kushaq and Kodiaq in India, which are already on top safety charts among ‘Made in India’ cars in Global NCAP crash tests. While, Kushaq and Slavia score full 5-stars for adult and child occupants in Global NCAP crash tests, the recently launched Kodiaq has also scored 5-stars for adults and children in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Present in more than 140 cities across the country with over 240 touchpoints, the company recorded a triple digit growth (125 per cent) with 53,721 units sold in 2022.
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“We know we are not the cheapest brand compared to a lot of Indian manufacturers or South Koreans or Japanese…our products prices range between ₹12 lakh and ₹20 lakh (for mass cars). But still at that price range…there is a journey for the customers and what was impossible 10 years ago, we can see customers are willing to pay a premium today,” Petr Šolc, Brand Director, Škoda Auto India, said.
He said customers today are more educated than before and know a lot about the features and it’s the money that worries the last to them.
The company will hold this safety as its driving force in its future in the Indian market, he said.
Recently, Johannes Neft, Škoda Auto Board Member for Technical Development also said that Škoda was using all its expertise in technical development to consistently improve the active and passive safety of its vehicles.
Even our entry-level models offer numerous assistance systems that are usually only available in vehicles from higher vehicle classes. At the same time, our state-of-the-art crash laboratory, Polygon Úhelnice, provides the ideal setting to thoroughly test the safety of our models. This allows us to incorporate our findings into vehicle development at a very early stage,” he added.
(The correspondent was recently in Indore on the invitation of Skoda Auto India)