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Skoda Australia to double its sales

Here they come: The Scala small car, previewed by the Vision RS concept (below), will be revealed in December, while a small SUV based on the Vision X concept is also on the way.

Five-year plan to double Skoda sales includes significant new-model rollout

20 Nov 2018

SKODA plans to double its Australian sales within the next five years to 12,000-13,000 units under a bold new growth strategy that will see the Czech brand increase its focus on SUVs as well as refreshing its entire model line-up.
 
The plan – announced in Sydney this week by Skoda board member for sales and marketing Alain Favey – will mark a dramatic sales increase for the brand that only returned to the Australian market in late 2007.
 
Skoda’s first full year of sales in 2008 – albeit with a limited model range – saw it shift 818 units, before hovering about the 3500 mark for three years from 2011-2013 and then steadily rising to hit a record of 5350 sales in 2017.
 
The Volkswagen Group-owned car-maker says it will achieve more than 6000 sales in Australia by the end of 2018 and more than 7000 in 2019. It is sitting on 5031 sales to the end of October this year, up 12 per cent on the same period in 2017.
 
Mr Favey said the rapid growth would come from a combination of new product and further building the brand in Australia under the leadership of Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer.
 
“We do believe we have a huge success story to write here in the Australian market,” he said. “I personally see the possibility to double our sales in the next five years. 
 
“That is the target we have set for the guys here, so Michael and the guys are working on this. 
 
“The strategy is not rocket science. It is a continuation of the … worldwide strategy. It is working on the one side with product and on the other side the brand, in parallel, in order to make both of them more appealing and more consistent with what Australian customers want.”
 
Mr Favey said Skoda would emphasise its SUV line-up and added that the Kodiaq seven-seat SUV “can take a bigger slice of the growing SUV market in Australia”.
 
He said the plan also included an improved brand strategy, the rollout of its new dealership corporate identity that will be completed by the end of this year, and the addition of a couple of new retail sites.
 
“We really believe there is a lot of potential here, and it is absolutely consistent with our strategy to be internationally more aggressive and growing so we have less reliance on the European market,” Mr Favey said.
 
Achieving its target of 12,000 to 13,000 annual sales within the next five years could see Skoda leapfrog brands such as Jeep, Lexus and Renault on the sales charts and put it lineball with Land Rover, based on current figures. 
 
Much of the growth, however, will come from a new-model onslaught, which Mr Favey and Mr Irmer detailed.
 
The Scala – a small VW Golf-sized hatchback that replaces the slow-selling Rapid – will be revealed in December and hit Australian shores in early 2020, with order books opening in late 2019.
 
Before that, Skoda Australia will launch a facelifted version of its fourth-generation Superb large liftback and wagon late in the third quarter of next year.
 
An all-new version of Skoda’s global – and Australian – best seller, the Octavia mid-sizer, will lob later in 2020.
 
Mr Irmer said Skoda was experiencing stock shortages of the current-generation Octavia which impacted sales last month – it dropped by 45.6 per cent compared with October 2017 – but added that dealers would be able to take more orders next month and stock levels should improve around April next year.
 
Another significant model launch for Skoda will be the compact SUV that will sit under the mid-size Karoq in its line-up.
 
Previewed by the Vision X concept revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, the rival for the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR will hit Australia sometime in the second half of 2020.
 
He added that a four-wheel-drive version of the Karoq, paired with a turbo-diesel engine and in Sportline trim, would hit showrooms at the end of quarter two next year.
 
The mooted all-electric SUV – previewed by last year’s Vision E concept – will be Skoda’s first full EV when it goes on sale globally in about 2021. It is expected to be offered in Australia.
 
A new-generation version of the Fabia light car is also expected, but not until about 2022.
 
Mr Favey did, however, rule out offering a Skoda-badged pick-up, despite the brand having some light-commercial vehicle experience – most recently with small hatch-based utes in the 1990s – as well as sister brand Volkswagen’s success with the Amarok.
 
“We would love to have a pick-up, but no, at this stage we have absolutely no plan to have a commercial vehicle offering,” he said. 
 
He also ruled out a larger SUV to sit above the Kodiaq that would share its underpinnings with the US-market large seven-seat Atlas.

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