In the next step towards its bold goal of increasing Skoda’s worldwide sales to at least 1.5 million vehicles per year by 2018, the Volkswagen Group revealed a new entry-level Skoda sedan named Rapid at its Pune plant in western India on Sunday.
Although it had been suggested that the Rapide may be the production version of Skoda’s MissionL concept that was show in Frankfurt last month, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Instead, the Rapid, which borrows its name from the rear-engine Skoda coupe of the mid-late 1980s, is a rebadged version of the Indian market VW Vento, otherwise known as the Polo sedan.
Positioned between the Fabia and Laura/Octavia, the new five-seat Rapid has a length of 4.39 meters, a width of 1.70 meters, and a height of 1.47 meters, while offering a trunk volume of close to 500 liters.
Production of the Rapid for the Indian market began on Sunday, but sales won’t start before the end of the year. When it reaches showrooms, the Rapid will offer buyers a choice of two 1.6-liter engines, a petrol and a turbo diesel unit, both producing 77kW (103HP).
“India is the first market in which we will introduce the new Rapid. It highlights the significance of that country for our company.
We want to step on the pedal all over the world in the coming years. In order to do so, we will clearly increase our activities outside of Europe. In this context, the Indian market plays a central role, because, besides China and Russia, it is among the markets with the greatest potential. The new Rapid is the right car at the right time for these growth markets. It is an important step on our growth path for the coming years.”