SkodaAuto India, a niche player in the passenger car sector has plans to boosts its current 8,000 units a year production to 50,000 in less than five years.

The massive scale-up will come from new product launches locally plus exports to Asia Pacific, making the Indian operation the regional hub. Exports will begin with Sri Lanka and Thailand, with which India has a free trade agreement.

Skoda Auto India chairman said the company's Aurangabad facility has ample space to expand. Within five years, production will rise to 180 units per day which and 1,000 units in the long term. Currently the assembly plant can build 15,000 cars per year on a two-shift basis.

From being a niche market player with the large Octavia and Superb models, Skoda India will go for volume with the launch of the compact Fabia, essential for its plant to reach critical mass in operations.

The Superb will be 'repositioned' (i.e. cheaper) following a switch from full import to local assembly in the next six months or so. In the short term, company will launch the Fabia followed by the redesigned Octavia II while increasing its coverage of the market from 36 to 45 dealerships.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup