Czech automobile manufacturer Skoda is planning to launch a sub-4-meter compact SUV (sports utility vehicle) by the first half of 2025, the company said on Tuesday. The SUV, which will lock horns with Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Fronx and Tata Nexon, will be built on the company's MQB-AO-IN platform in India. The maker of Kodiaq and Kushaq also plans to hit an annual sales target of 1,00,000 cars in India by 2026. SUVs account for 50% of the company's sales in India.

"India is crucial to the global growth of Škoda Auto, both because of its own market strength and as a development and manufacturing base for our expansion in new markets including ASEAN and the Middle East. We have more than doubled sales in India since 2021 and we are now taking the next step by further expanding the range of models designed for customers in India and internationally," says Klaus Zellmer, CEO, Skoda Auto.

"The all-new compact SUV due in 2025 will add an important segment for customers. I’m confident the expanding Škoda portfolio will contribute to our India growth target of achieving a market share for the Volkswagen family of brands of around 5% by 2030," he adds.

Meanwhile, the Czech automobile manufacturer is also reportedly planning to introduce an electric vehicle in India in the mass market segment by 2025. The company showcased its electric vehicle Skoda Enyaq at the Bharat Mobility Show, earlier this month.

The Czech automaker sold and exported 1,45,713 units last year.

The development comes as several automobile manufacturers are launching new products, to grab a significant pie in the evolving SUV market. SUVs account for 49% of the market share in the passenger vehicle segment and are touted to reach above 60% in the next two to three years. The market share of SUVs in India increased from 16% in 2015 to 49% in 2023.

"After the success of the Kushaq and Slavia, we are expanding our reach with the upcoming launch of an all-new compact SUV, targeting the largest segment in India. Our R&D expertise in India has already enabled us to incorporate highly localised parts and components for our entire range. With the new compact SUV, we are furthering this strategy by systematically developing our local supplier base to provide parts and components of global standards and quality at competitive prices. We aim to actively participate in the evolving landscape of mobility in India," says Piyush Arora, MD & CEO, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, automobile major Mahindra & Mahindra launched the Earth edition of its flagship SUV Thar at a starting price of ₹15.40. The SUV, which sports a satin matte dune-beige 'Desert Fury' colour, has petrol and diesel variants with manual and automatic transmission. 

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