Czech car maker Skoda Auto and Volkswagen Group India Saturday inaugurated a new Technology Centre at its Chakan manufacturing plant here as part of its 2.0 India project. Skoda and Volkswagen group India are jointly investing Euro 250 million (around Rs 2000 crore) in the research and development project in India. In India, Volkswagen group is led by Skoda.
The opening ceremony of the new technology centre, which will employ 250 engineers and develop India-specific vehicles, was attended by the Prime Minister of Czech Republic Andrej Babis as well as Christian Strube, member of the board of management for technical development, Skoda Auto and Gurpratap Boparai, head of the Volkswagen Group India.
The India 2.0 project includes enhancing capacities at the group's two plants at Aurangabad and Pune. Products developed under the INDIA 2.0 project will achieve up to 95 per cent localisation.
"I am delighted that Skoda Auto is expanding its presence and involvement in India with such significant investments and promising projects. The fact that Skoda is creating great opportunities for the high potential market here in India demonstrates the long-term strategy of the brand," Babis said at the inaugural ceremony.
The opening of the technology centre in Chakan represents the first major step in implementing the 'India 2.0' project. The Indian engineers will be responsible for project management, electronics, infotainment, body design, interior, chassis and complete vehicle.
"By opening the technology centre, we underline our determination to make the India 2.0 project a success. India has excellent universities and highly qualified staff; this state-of-the-art facility will help us to unlock that huge potential especially with regard to design and development. Local development is the key to success, Strube said.
Stating that the new centre will lay the foundation for the development of products that are specially designed for Indian market, Boparai said, "We expect to roll out the first products, for both the Skoda as well Volkswagen brands, by 2020- 21; starting with a mid-sized SUV based on MQB A0 IN platform."
"A model campaign, led by Skoda, will follow. I am convinced that we can use all the strengths of Skoda to the great benefit of the entire Volkswagen Group," he added.
Approximately 250 engineers will be working at the new Technology Center. About 95 per cent of vehicle components for the localised MQB A0 platform will be manufactured locally. The vehicles developed in India will meet the same core standards for safety, quality and design that the Volkswagen Group represents worldwide. At the same time, both KODA and Volkswagen will be showcasing models with their own typical characteristics on the market.
Last July, German auto group Volkswagen had announced around Rs 7900-8,000 crore investment in the 'India 2.0' project, which will primarily be used in developing Skoda and Volkswagen vehicles for the Indian market.
The first of these models will be a mid-size SUV in the A0 segment, which will be unveiled in 2020.