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Skoda Australia to double sales by 2023

Skoda recorded worldwide sales of 1.2m last year, and is on track to comfortably exceed that figure in 2018.

Skoda Auto board member for sales and marketing, Alain Favey has confirmed he has tasked the brand’s Australian subsidiary with doubling its sales volume in the next five years.

On track to sell in excess of 6000 vehicles this year, Skoda Australia brand director Michael Irmer is confident a slew of new, largely SUV-oriented products, dealer network upgrades and on-going service affordability initiatives will support that figure’s rise to 12,000-plus by the end of 2023.

The Czech brand recorded worldwide sales of 1.2m last year, and according to Mr Favey, the company is on track to comfortably exceed that figure in 2018.

In Sydney to meet with dealers and discuss product and marketing strategy with the local executive team, Mr Favey said manufacturing capacity is currently the brand’s biggest limitation.

“Skoda is a brand that has been expanding very rapidly. There are many reasons for this positive trend. One is the way our products have been perceived in the past few years, and we have launched an SUV offensive with Kodiaq and Karoq to meet increasing demand.

“This has been so successful that in some European markets it can take one year to get a Kodiaq, and it has impacted also on our capacity for delivery here in Australia. 

"We are working on the evolution of the brand and improvement to our production capacity with the [VW] Group announcing new production facilities [at Kvasiny in the Czech Republic to come on stream in 2023] that will have the responsibility to build the Karoq family.”

Michael Irmer added that as well as additional supply of existing models, the arrival of three new product lines will underpin Skoda’s medium-term growth in Australia:

• The compact Scala hatch, previewed by the Vision RS Concept shown at this year’s Paris motor show, and due here in the first half of 2020

• A small SUV previewed by the Vision X Concept unveiled at this year’s Geneva show, and due in the second half of 2020

• An all-new Octavia scheduled for local release at the end of 2020

  • The compact Scala hatch, previewed by the Vision RS Concept is  due here in the first half of 2020. The compact Scala hatch, previewed by the Vision RS Concept is due here in the first half of 2020.
  • A small SUV previewed by the Vision X Concept unveiled at this year’s Geneva show, and due in the second half of 2020. A small SUV previewed by the Vision X Concept unveiled at this year’s Geneva show, and due in the second half of 2020.

Mr Favey also confirmed electromobility is a significant focus for the brand, with the Vision E SUV Coupe Concept (unveiled at last year’s Shanghai motor show) previewing Skoda product to be built on the VW Group’s MEB electric vehicle platform.

But Mr Irmer believes the Australian market “isn’t 100 per cent ready” for a Skoda plug-in electric vehicle.

The Vision E SUV Coupe Concept previewed future Skoda products to be built on the VW Group’s MEB electric vehicle platform. The Vision E SUV Coupe Concept previewed future Skoda products to be built on the VW Group’s MEB electric vehicle platform.

“Other manufacturers have tried this out and I believe the numbers of vehicles sold in this configuration are not that promising. But if the potential is there I have no doubt we would bring the vehicle to Australia.”

Asked whether Skoda’s growth in the Australian market could ultimately impact Volkswagen sales, Mr Favey noted combined market share for the two brands (approximately 5.4 per cent) is relatively modest, with plenty of room available for both to grow.

Mr Irmer added, “The cars are similar, but the customers are kind of different in some respects.

“We have a very sharp profile of our customers as so called ‘independent thinkers’. According to Roy Morgan, together with Porsche we have the highest level of people buying Skoda with a university degree, and significantly higher than average income.

“[They are] people who make conscious decisions in life. They could do something else but Skoda just suits them fine. How to say, flying under the radar, or a little bit being the underdog. I don’t need to pretend to be somebody I am not.”

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