News - Market Insight Market Insight 2016
Market Insight: Skoda future looks bright
Coming soon: The VisionS concept will debut at Geneva and will preview the car-maker’s next SUV model.
Skoda hits record sales as new products arrive to keep brand powering along
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12 February 2016
CZECH brand Skoda ended 2015 with its best sales result since launching in
Australia in late-2007 and the car-maker looks set to continue its steady pace,
despite the diesel emissions scandal engulfing its parent company.
It was always going to be a tough task trying to break into the notoriously
competitive Australian new-car market as an unknown quantity, but the
Volkswagen Group-owned car-maker has been chipping away year on year, growing
its brand awareness and sales volume.
In 2015, Skoda shifted 4750 units, representing a 23.3 per cent increase over
its 2014 haul of 3853. This is in stark contrast to its first couple of years
in Australia when it captured 818 sales in 2008 and 1252 in 2009, rising
slightly to 1652 units in 2010.
Skoda had a limited line-up in those early days, with just the Octavia and the
quirky – and recently discontinued – Roomster tall-boy hatch offered until 2009
when the large Superb sedan and wagon arrived. It wasn’t until the Fabia light
car and the Yeti crossover arrived in 2011 that things started to pick up.
Sales hovered between 3501 and 3555 units from 2011 to 2013, but the arrival of
the third-generation Octavia late in 2013 help boost sales to 3853 the
The overall 2015 result was enough for it to overtake car-makers with longer
histories in Australia, including Peugeot (4000) and Fiat (3945), while coming
dangerously close to overtaking Swedish brand Volvo (4943).
The Volkswagen Group diesel emissions scandal does not appear to have had any
short-term impact on Skoda’s sales in Australia, with its tally growing each
month since the scandal broke in September compared with the corresponding
month in 2014.
The other two brands involved, Audi and of course, Volkswagen, have had mixed
results. Audi’s sales grew month-on-month since September last year compared
with 2014, while VW’s have fluctuated.
In Skoda’s line-up, the Octavia is easily the best-selling model with 2128 sold
in 2015, making up about 45 per cent of the company’s overall volume.
It outsold a number of more established rivals in the sub-$60,000 mid-size
segment last year, including the Ford Mondeo (2120), Hyundai Sonata (1629) and
i40 (1743), and Kia Optima (1052), as well as newer nameplates such as the
Nissan Altima (1488) and Holden Malibu (1027).
The Octavia couldn’t get anywhere near the segment-leading Toyota Camry
(27,654), but it was fifth in the segment behind the Mazda6 (5276), Subaru
Liberty (4097) and the Volkswagen Passat (2292).
Other models in the line-up that experienced growth last year include the
Fabia, which lifted by 38.6 per cent to 618 units on the back of an all-new
model, and the under-appreciated Rapid, which finally attracted a few more
buyers to rise 21.7 per cent to 448 units.
The results of the two smaller cars were solid for the brand but not good
enough to put them anywhere near the top of their respective light- and
Yeti dropped by 2.3 per cent to 855 sales, keeping it at the back of the
small-SUV pack, while the run-out Superb lost 24.8 per cent, hitting 264 units.
The small but consistent line-up is set to grow in the coming years, with
confirmation that a new large SUV, which will sit above the Yeti, will make its
debut at next month's Geneva motor show in concept guise as the VisionS.
It is likely to share its underpinnings with the Volkswagen-badged seven-seat
SUV that was previewed by the CrossBlue concept from the 2013 Detroit motor
Given the large-SUV segment in Australia is the third-largest by volume and
accounts for about 12 per cent of overall new-vehicle sales, and considering
the wiser trend towards SUVs, Skoda's mystery SUV could provide the company
with the volume to push further into the mainstream.
An all-new Superb is set to hit Australian showrooms in the next couple of
months and while the large-car segment has been in decline for a number of
years, niche models such as the big Skoda tend to fare better than some.
The introduction of Skoda’s new design language, showcased by the striking
VisionC concept from last year’s Geneva show, as well as a big leap in terms of
cabin comfort, safety and connectivity should ensure the new Superb strikes a
chord with customers.
A guaranteed buy-back program that applies to private buyers was launched early
last year and this could also have given consumers confidence in choosing a
Skoda plays on its appeal to buyers that are in the market for a European car,
but want something a little different, and the additions to the line-up as well
as ongoing improvements to customer care, should ensure the quirky Czech brand
finds a loyal following Down Under.