Skoda is targeting to sell 1.5 million vehicles in 2018 – a goal that has become more difficult to achieve as the carmaker continues to experience a slump in sales in crisis-hit Russia.
The auto industry in Russia is taking some hits from the current Russia-Ukraine row, trade sanctions and weakening currency – leading carmakers to delay or decrease their investment in the country.
Combine that with the brand’s continued dive in India, the 2018 sales target has become harder to hit. Skoda’s midterm plan anticipate a Russian market of 3 million vehicle sales, 4 percent of which Skoda expects to account for.
Werner Eichhorn, Skoda board member for sales and marketing, told Automotive News Europe, said they expect the Russian auto market to shrink to around 2 million units this year, which means sales of just over 80,000 vehicles.
To that effect, Eichhorn said Skoda is now reevaluating all its investments and processes in Russia. According to Skoda, budget changes may affect future production of the Yeti in Nizhny Novgorod, where the SUV is being built under license.
The Czech carmaker has already stopped producing the Fabia subcompact in Kaluga to pave way for the new generation.
Carmakers are seeing a significant opportunity in the Russian auto markets as the country has over 140 million consumers and boasts of rapid middle-class development.
Experts believe that Russia will soon become the largest auto market in Europe, surpassing Germany in terms of vehicle sales.