Skoda Auto AS, the Czech brand fully owned by the Volkswagen Group, expects new model introductions and enhanced dealership facelifts to spur demand in the world’s largest auto market.
The mass-market brand, originally pitted as an affordable division but later elevated to its current status, hopes for increased sales in China, a country that has provided a boon so far to parent Volkswagen AG. This would allow the latter to reach its ambitious goal of taking over from Toyota and become the largest automaker in the world.
“We did a lot of homework regarding the brand and also the vehicles,” Skoda China President Andreas Hafemann said. “With the products, it’s the expansion, it’s going into segments which we were not positioned in the past.”
The European maker is counting on the new Rapid Spaceback compact car, the latest generation of its best-selling Octavia sedan and the refreshed version of the Yeti SUV to achieve a 10% sales growth this year.
Reaching the sales goal would put Skoda again on a positive trend, after last year – while overall China sales increased by 16% – the Czech brand (together with Suzuki, for that matter) registered a delivery dip, as data coming from researcher IHS Automotive reveals.