Mumbai/Pune, 01 May 2023: Škoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited (SAVWIPL), which manages the Indian region of five Volkswagen Group brands – Škoda, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Lamborghini, has announced its first-ever student car project in India. Selected students from the Group Academy’s Dual Vocational Training in Mechatronics program have created a unique cabriolet version of the Škoda Rapid sedan. This project offers students a hands-on experience in the automotive industry, allowing them to apply their theoretical knowledge in a practical setting.
Piyush Arora, Managing Director and CEO of Škoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited said, “We are excited to introduce the Student Car project to India, providing vocational school pupils with a unique opportunity to design and create their dream car by rebuilding one of the cars from the Škoda portfolio while adding innovative ideas. This initiative reflects our commitment to nurturing talent and promoting innovation in the Indian automotive industry. Such initiatives also create an opportunity for the realisation of futuristic ideas by building prototypes with out-of-box thinking without the fear of failure. We are confident that this project will not only give students practical experience but also equip them with new skills and insights into various departments at Škoda Auto Volkswagen India. By stimulating the youth’s creativity and providing them with practical skills, this project will further support the Skill India initiative implemented by the Indian Government.”
Sarma Chillara, Group Head of HR and Administration Škoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited said, “As the automotive industry continues to evolve, Škoda Auto Volkswagen India firmly believes that grooming the next generation of skilled professionals to adapt to this dynamic landscape is imperative. With a focus on practical learning and skill-building, our mechatronics program is tailored to empower students with the tools and expertise needed to thrive in the fast-paced automotive industry. It brings us great pleasure to witness our students collaborating on such a prestigious project.”
The mechatronics students undertook a unique car project and converted a Škoda Rapid into a cabriolet. Converting a standard, hard-top car into roofless beauty was not an easy job, but the students were determined and ensured to complete the project on time and with an immaculate finish. Among the various customizations, the one that really draws attention is the retractable Škoda badge on the bonnet. The iconic ‘winged arrow’ hood ornament elevates elegantly from the bonnet and retracts back in at a touch of a button. They also added a sleek LED lip lighting to the front bonnet to enhance the sporty appearance. In addition, the project car also gets an illuminated ‘Skoda’ inscription on the bootlid to give it a distinct appearance. There are several other sporty bits like the fully-loaded black accessories package with a yellow catch radium flow character line and yellow-painted brake calipers.
To give the cabin a more premium feel the students upgraded the standard radio to a more modern, tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system. But more importantly, they had to integrate the seatbelt into the front seat since the cabriolet doesn’t have a B-pillar where the belts are originally mounted. The seats themselves are beautifully crafted in top-quality scarlet-red leather. And to ensure an exhilarating experience, the factory-fitted exhaust was replaced by a sporty exhaust system that can induce goosebumps at a blip of the throttle.
Though this is the first Student Car Project by Škoda Auto Volkswagen India, internationally, the Škoda Academy’s Azubi Student Car Project is now in its ninth iteration. The Škoda vocational students in Mladá Boleslav have been designing and building their dream car since 2014. With exceptional one-of-a-kind vehicles, the Group in India aims to showcase its Vocational School’s high level of training and support the nation’s Skill India initiative. The program not only showcases the exceptional abilities of Indian engineers but also validates the Group’s commitment to empowering the next generation of skilled professionals.
SAVWIPL Academy is taking steps to regularize the Student Car Program and include it as a project in the students’ syllabus. The program will involve one cycle of projects every year, and the student selection criteria will be improved to make it more competitive. Through this initiative, the Academy aims to create a centralized forum/platform for the plant where students can showcase and implement innovative and futuristic ideas. The program will provide students with a unique opportunity to develop their skills and contribute to the Academy’s growth while gaining practical experience in the field.
SAVWIPL Academy’s Dual Vocational Training in Mechatronics is a flagship program that has been contributing to upskilling 10th-grade school students since 2011. This full-time 3.5-year course, adopted from Germany, focuses on developing school-leavers’ talents to take up critical roles. The program’s objective is to encourage technological creativity among apprentices, inculcate a sense of pride in their talent, and promote a problem-solving approach to developing appropriate technologies. Apprentices get a chance to apply what they learn in the classroom practically, promoting creativity, and showcasing their talents. The program is also a good platform to find talented individuals and boosts apprentices’ confidence in speaking and presenting their work.