Czech carmaker Skoda is aiming to expand twice as fast as its parent by being known as the next "people's car" after recent initiatives to move upmarket had an impact on VW. Volkswagen AG previously rescued Skoda from the collapse of communism. The transfer to a no-frills method disperses tension after Skoda entered on the market of VW with the upscale Superb wagon and sedan, leading to the departure of former chief Reinhard Jung.
This week, the brand began its focus on basic transportation with the new Citigo, Skoda's version of the VW Up minicar. In the Czech Republic, the Citigo will be available at a price of less than $10,000.
The brand's sales boss Juergen Stackmann commented that "it feels good to now have the support to become what Skoda always wanted -- an affordable brand focused on practical, solid products."
Stackmann added that the word "exclusivity" is "nowhere to be found at Skoda." The brand's transformation is vital to the plans of VW to outperform General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. as the biggest vehicle manufacturer in the world by 2018.
The collapse of the partnership of VW and Suzuki Motor Corp. is boosting the profile of the Czech brand, placing it as the low-cost alternative for emerging markets, where VW vehicles tend to be too pricey.
The forecaster IHS Automotive has projected that Skoda would increase sales by 84 percent from 768,000 last year to 1.41 million units in 2018 brought about by the demand from first-time buyers in India, China and Russia. The growth rate is more than twice the 41 percent forecasted for the VW brand.
Without a doubt, the new Škoda Superb has a form that has a striking look. One reason is how the design principle of Škoda Auto has been implemented in the Superb. Specifically, the front grille now comes with a stronger three-dimensional shape with the addition of the finely modeled trimmings in chrome to give it that solid and substantial appearance. Take the line of its roof for instance, which is a feature that easily catches the eye.
While the previous version came with a domed and rounded roof, the new Superb has an elongated roof which allows it to gracefully blend with the C-pillars’ radius. Thus aside from the design, it also provides a hint of the available space on the interior as well as the excellent room that is delivered to the passengers sitting in the rear. For the Ambition and the Elegance variants, there are chrome trims around its windows that move a three-dimensional element found at the C-pillar.
This gives the car an appearance that is typically seen in higher class versions. Meanwhile on the bonnet, there are curved lines that go all the way to the headlamps which strengthen the horizontal direction and therefore give the Superb a look as if it is self-assuredly and solidly sitting on the road. Highlighting this quality even further are the front wings.
Combined, these different features give the Superb that unique look while maintaining a look that makes it recognizable as part of the Škoda range. Another unique feature in the new Superb is that unlike in the previous models, the holder of the number plate has not been incorporated with the boot cover. Rather, the one in the new Superb has been placed lower and on the bumper.
As a result, there is now a space in the boot cover’s vertical face and this allows for the Škoda logo to be placed there and exude that self-assurance characteristic. Under this and in the rear is the model designation which enhances the rear view further. The rear has two-part tail lamps with one being integrated to the boot cover while the other one is part of the rear wings. This shows that the Superb continues to be loyal to the design language still being used by the brand across its range.
With the elegant and straight-lined shape, the tail lamps are able to excel during daylight but at nighttime they light up and form a C-shaped light, which is the standard night-time design of the newest generation of offerings from Škoda. Mounted to the body are the 18-inch wheels which again strengthen the athletic elegance and solid look of its bodywork.