Skoda is confident that its deliveries in 2013 will increase even as the demand in Europe declines because of the strong demand for new or updated models, such as a new Octavia compact and the Rapid spaceback compact hatchback. According to CEO Winfried Vahland, the first quarter and likely the first half of this year will be weaker than the previous year due to the decline in Skoda's primary European markets and the shift to the new Octavia.
Last Wednesday, Vahland said that the next quarter seems better than the existing one and that it should continue to grow in order to permit full production capacity. He said that the “tide should continue to turn” when the full volumes of the Octavia and the Spaceback become available.
Last November, the Octavia entered showrooms. The Rapid Spaceback is set to start selling by the fourth quarter after it is introduced this September at the Frankfurt auto show. The company has started to sell a sedan variant of the Rapid. Vahland said that in 2013, eight new or refurbished models will be released. By 2015, Skoda will have its line-up totally revamped.
He said that the division also has plans to add an SUV in the next several years that’s larger than its existing Yeti model. The CEO said that the new models to be produced are the "right recipe" against contracting European demand.
He said that the new SUV is likely to have Russia, China and western Europe as its biggest markets. He also said that Skoda has yet to decide on a production location for the vehicle.
Skoda has plants in the Czech Republic as well as in Russia, India and China, which include plants operated in partnership with parent Volkswagen. Last year, Skoda's operating profit decreased by 4.2% to 712 million euros ($916 million). Its revenue increased by 1.7% to 10.4 billion euros.