PRAGUE – Skoda plans to boost sales 33 percent by expanding to the East and by adding a small minivan and possibly a small SUV.
Global sales of the Volkswagen groups Czech-based subsidiary have been nearly stagnant at about 450,000 units a year since 2000.
To boost that volume to 600,000 by 2009, Skoda will:
Skoda reached an agreement with Shanghai Volkswagen to start producing the Octavia lower-medium car in 2007.
We would like to produce 40,000 cars the first year, later on 50,000 to 80,000 cars, Skoda spokesman Jaroslav Cerny said.
In 2006 in India, Skoda will launch the small-segment Fabia, its best-seller in Europe. Skoda will double production capacity to 30,000 units next year at its complete knockdown kit assembly plant in Aurangabad, where it will make Fabias alongside the Octavia.
Last year Asia and other non-European markets accounted for a fraction of Skodas total sales – 27,624 units compared with 151,815 in central Europe and the 240,672 in western Europe.
A separate aspect of Skodas growth plan is to promote itself as the simply clever brand that offers the most room at an affordable price.
The car that will serve as the example for simply clever will be a small minivan based on the Roomster design study.
The Roomster features a flexible interior that can be adjusted for a variety of uses. Wittig wants Skoda to sell between 50,000 and 100,000 units of the small minivan a year.
The Yeti small SUVs future got a boost when Wittig said earlier this month that the reaction to the Yeti has been positive. He spoke at the Brno auto show, the Czech Republics No. 1 auto event.
Said Skodas Cerny: If everything goes right, we will need at least three years to make it.
– Henning Krogh contributed