Skoda chief executive Winfried Vahland revealed in a statement that the carmaker is targeting to double its sales in China to 500,000 vehicles by 2018, when around a third of its annual production could be sold in the country, considered to be the largest vehicle market in the world. Skoda is planning to boost its global annual sales to at least 1.5 million vehicles by 2018, up from 939,200 vehicles in 2012.
Skoda said in March 2013 that it was on course to achieve its goal, despite facing a gloomy situation in the recession-hit Europe. Skoda is also banking on growth in key emerging markets like China or Russia. The Czech carmaker disclosed Thursday it was doubling its vehicle lineup in China to six models this year.
Sales of light vehicles surpassed 19 million in 2012 and some analysts expect the figure to surge to over 30 million in the next decade. Skoda first entered the vehicle market in China nearly six years ago and has sold 913,800 during the period until 2012, when it posted sales of around 235,700 vehicles in the country.
China has been Skoda’s top market since 2010. Skoda parent Volkswagen Group said this month that it has plans to boost its workforce in China by a third to over 100,000 people by 2018, as the carmaker continues to expand its local production capacity.
Skoda remains the top exporter in the Czech Republic, where exports account for 80 percent of annual economic output. Czech exports have been badly hit by slumping demand for vehicles in the euro zone while its local sales have been affected by the government's spending cuts and tax hikes.