Skoda sales expected to grow in 2012 despite Europe’s financial problems

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 18, 2012

Despite Europe's tough financial problems, Volkswagen Group's Skoda division doesn’t expect that its growth will slow down. In 2011, Skoda sold 879,200 vehicles, setting a new record in its global sales. Juergen Stackmann, the Czech-based brand's head of sales and marketing, told Automotive News Europe, said that its growth will persist in 2012.

About 60% of the brand's global sales are in Europe. He said that its market share is presently slightly lower than 3% in western Europe. Stackmann said that Skoda has more potential. He said that its target is to grow in emerging markets as well as in its core markets.

Stackmann confirmed Skoda's target to raise its global new-car sales to 1.5 million by 2018, helping VW reach its groupwide goal of attaining 10 million sales by the same year. Skoda expects that by 2018, 60% of its volume will come from outside Europe in developing markets like China and India, from 40% now. Europe's share of the brand's global volume would decrease to 40%. Already, this plan is gaining traction.

In 2011, China became Skoda's biggest single market based on unit sales, exceeding Germany to reach No. 1 just five years after it started selling in the country. A VW Group plant in Shanghai builds the three models that Skoda sells in China.

These are the Fabia subcompact, Octavia compact and Superb mid-sized car. In addition, Skoda has production operations with VW in Kaluga, Russia, and Pune, India. He added that the brand won’t expand into new markets such as North America, Brazil or Argentina. He explained that the focus of the company is on “exploiting the potential of our existing regions.”

Škoda has put a new design on the front section of the Fabia which now makes use of horizontal components. With this, the Fabia looks lower even if the height was not changed. Helping with the updated look is the new grille with headlamps that utilize a three-dimensional shape. Through the horizontal lines used, it highlights the width of the front end.

According to Chief Designer Jozef Kabaň, the proportions of the Fabia now have a more relaxed appearance. Indeed, even if the new Fabia has a more dynamic appearance, the comfort originally offered remains the same. Development Executive Eckhard Scholz shared that all components were considered during the redesign. With regards to the new design, it not only makes it more dynamic but it appears to give the new Fabia more confidence. It is even more mature and elegant. A good description would be that it now appeals on a very emotional level.

The brand revealed that the redesign was due to the introduction of the newest and high-tech turbocharged engine, which first appeared in the Fabia, as well as the twin-charged version. Because the engine program was revised, it made it important to change as well the front section and the brand was more than happy to grab the chance to redesign this portion.

Everything from the previous model was indeed changed, from the bonnet to the shapes of the headlamps to its bumper and mountings. Even the floor area in the front was redesigned. The new headlamps stretch towards the front wings and the side profile has the appearance of being longer. Its rear lights continue to have the signature C-shaped graphic. Still, even with all the changes implemented, Škoda made sure that it continues to have the prime values that made the Fabia what it is.

For example, one of the key features that are still present is the window surface which is shaped like a visor and envelops the passenger compartment. The brand even made sure that the choice for a complementary roof paint remains. Overall, the different features, whether old or new, guarantee that the new Fabia best represents the brand.

Topics: skoda, sales, europe

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