The first sponsored site, in Liverpool, is expected to open in July at a total cost to Skoda of £1.3m. Intended as a flagship showroom, it will feature the carmaker's new European design, which includes a “contemporary, clean” look designed to appeal to new customers.
“The Liverpool region has strategic importance for Skoda and a high sales potential,” a spokeswoman for the manufacturer adds. “It has been an open point for a while and this approach will help ensure dealer profitability.”
Skoda has identified three more open points - and has acquired a site in Bradford - that will be incorporated into the new business approach. Each will be owned by the carmaker and leased to a dealer.
The 20 dealer-funded sites will feature a slightly modified design to the four Skoda-owned outlets, with a peaked roof instead of curved. Cost of investment will be about £700,000. Retailers will be expected to adopt this new look if they move to a new site, but Skoda won't be forcing the rest of the network to make the investment.
The Liverpool showroom will be branded Alex Lawrie Skoda and run by principal James Alex Lawrie.