Since June 2018, Skoda Auto has been responsible for heading the INDIA 2.0 project, Volkswagen Group’s model campaign in the Indian market. In October 2019, Skoda Auto and Volkswagen India consolidated to become the Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited, bringing in new synergies. Part of the INDIA 2.0 is the Skoda Vision IN which will be underpinned by the MQB-AO-IN a highly localised platform based on the international MQB platform. The new platform will also underpin future Volkswagen products such as the Taigun.
Another subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group in the international market is the Spanish car manufacturer SEAT. Earlier this year a SEAT test vehicle was spotted near the city of Pune where Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited (SAVIPL) has a technology centre as well as a manufacturing facility. In the recent past, the Spanish brand’s crossover SUV the SEAT Arona was also spotted testing around Pune.
The SEAT Arona has been spotted, yet again, but this time the crossover has been spotted in the hilly region of the Himalayas. The spied car was spotted driving around the picturesque town of Manali and is likely to have been testing near the Rohtang, a high mountain pass to test the vehicle’s abilities in high altitudes. The SEAT Arona spotted near Manali is in the LEFT-HAND-DRIVE iteration with White exterior paint and the test mule was sans camouflage.
In the international market, the SEAT Arona is powered by a 1.0-litre TSI engine available in three states of tune 95 Hp, 110Hp and 115Hp of power. Another 1.5-litre TSI engine with 150 Hp of power, a 1.0-litre TGI engine with CNG fuel optimisation that pumps out 90 Hp of power and a 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine with 95 Hp of power. The test mule is speculated to be equipped with the 1.5-litre TSI engine that produces 150 Hp of power matched to a 7-speed DSG box on the top-end trims. The same engine is also likely to power the Skoda Vision IN and the Volkswagen Taigun, when they arrive in India.
The spied SEAT Arona could be a test-bed for Made in India Volkswagen components which could be under test for benchmarking purposes. Skoda and Volkswagen might be evaluating various engine and gearbox combinations that could be employed on their vehicles for the Indian market and chances of SEAT coming to India as a separate brand is pretty slim.