Skoda Auto has almost reached its global sales target for 2009, having already sold 570,217 vehicles from January to October.
And despite the difficult economic climate, the Czech Republic’s largest manufacturer is just 1.7 per cent behind 2008, in which it sold 674,530 in total.
China is playing an important role in Skoda’s growth with over 100,000 cars sold there this year.
This comes on the back of a 117 per cent sales increase from 2007 to 2008 when 59,284 vehicles were purchased by the Chinese.
Skoda BOD member responsible for sales, Mr Reinhard Fleger, was pleased with the brand’s successful expansion into China.
“China is playing a major role in the brand’s future development.
“The Octavia has been a great success since its launch in June 2007. The Fabia, launched last December, is also very successful. The launch of the Superb in August this year was exceedingly important for further expansion in this market.
“Passing the milestone of 100,000 vehicles is a big step in developing the Skoda brand in China and also a great motivation to ensure that this positive trend continues,” Mr Fleger said.
Skoda Australia also had a strong October, shifting 136 units compared to last year’s 54.
It has sold 934 cars in the first 10 months of the year, a 42 per cent increase over 2008 year-to-date.
Skoda Australia product marketing manager, Petr Beneda, said the results were below predictions from the start of the year.
“We had slightly higher targets for the year, but the GFC and the overall situation slowed the whole process down. But we will have a good year though with growth of around 60 per cent,” he said.
Mr Beneda said he still remained hopeful of reaching 1200-1300 sales by the end of 2009.
He said monthly sales had been much more consistent this year thanks to the expansion of the Octavia range and the popularity of the wagon and RS models.
The Octavia accounts for 77 per cent of all Australian sales, with around a 40:60 split toward the wagon version.
Roomster sales have been disappointing – down from 100 YTD in 2008 to just 55 so far this year – something that Skoda plans to rectify.
“We were a little bit lower on the Roomster, but frankly speaking we didn’t do much advertising on Roomster so we will emphasise this model next year.”
Mr Beneda wouldn’t be drawn on sales expectations for 2010, but said simply: “Of course, we want to grow”.
The Superb wagon will help that, due for release at the beginning of the second quarter.
Mr Beneda also said efforts to bring the Yeti crossover-hatch down under were advanced and that we would hopefully see it from the second half of 2010, while the Fabia small car is a possibility after that.
by Tim Beissmann