Bloomberg News

Skoda Plans Fresh Cars Every Six Months in Push for Sales Growth

January 10, 2014

Skoda Auto AS, the Czech division of Volkswagen AG (VOW), plans to offer a new or revised model every six months on average until 2016 to contribute to its parent company’s target of dominating global auto-industry sales.

Deliveries in December rose 5.8 percent from a year earlier to 70,000 vehicles, boosted by a 52 percent surge for the Octavia line-up, Mlada Boleslav-based Skoda said today in a statement. That marked the fourth consecutive monthly gain. Full-year sales fell 2 percent to 920,800 cars, hurt by a shrinking regional market and a production switch to new models in the first half.

“Our attractive model range, good flow of incoming orders and increasingly bright future on the European automotive markets make us confident for 2014,” Skoda Chief Executive Officer Winfried Vahland said in the statement.

Skoda is pushing into China, which has become the brand’s biggest national market, and other developing economies to make up for industrywide sales in Europe that are at a two-decade low. The company’s growth plan is part of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen’s target of overtaking General Motors Co. (GM:US) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) as the world’s biggest carmaker by 2018.

New versions of the Octavia, which started entering showrooms in November 2012, helped Skoda’s full-year western European sales rise 3.1 percent, including an 18 percent jump in December. Deliveries increased 2.9 percent in Germany, the region’s biggest auto market, and surged 24 percent in the U.K.

Sales fell 8.5 percent in eastern Europe last year, with a 12 percent decline in Russia, and dropped 3.7 percent in China, Skoda said. The new Octavia was rolled out in Russia in the second half of 2013, and is scheduled to enter Chinese showrooms early this year, it said. The Rapid compact sedan will start sales in Russia in the first six months of 2014, the carmaker said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Dudik in Prague at adudik@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Risser at drisser@bloomberg.net; Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net


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