Volkswagen Group is working on a plan to revive Skoda's flagging China sales, where it was the company's only brand to post a volume decline last year.
China has been Skoda's largest single market since 2010 but the brand faces increasing competition from domestic automakers. Last year Skoda's China deliveries fell 17 percent to 282,000 even while the country remained the Czech brand's biggest market. Skoda's global volume fell 1 percent to 1.2 million units.
VW Group China Chief Operating Officer Stephan Woellenstein said Skoda's turnaround plan will follow the template the group used to turn around the core VW brand's fortunes in the market.
"In 2016, we drafted a program to revitalize the VW brand consisting of various strategic elements that we internally called Move Forward, which has proved to be very successful,” Woellenstein told reporters on a conference call Friday. "For the past several months we have been working on something similar with Skoda."
Without being more specific, Woellenstein said he recently finished talks with SAIC, one of the company's two Chinese partners, on additional measures to help Skoda "in the near future." VW Group also has a Chinese joint venture with FAW that builds cars for Audi and VW.
Major pillars of the program that revived the VW brand were a product offensive that included the first crossovers for its JV with FAW, the addition of battery-electric vehicles such as the e-Bora and e-Lavida and a mass rollout of fully connected models to appeal to China's Internet-savvy buyers.
Overall, the VW Group managed to outperform the Chinese market with a 0.6 percent increase in 2019 sales, notching a new record with 4.23 million deliveries.