He expects volumes to pass 40,000 units by year-end, keeping corporate sales at just above a third of that. Craft said demand has been strong for Octavia and new Fabia, and Superb is ahead of target. Total sales were at 25,471 units at the beginning of September.
Dealers will be taken to Dubai in November for the national dealer conference, when Craft will detail his strategy for “steady and continuous” growth. He told AM: “We’ll grow through launching new models, increasing our advertising to get the message across and establish what the Skoda brand stands for. We’ll work closely with our retailers to help them deliver these plans and get a return on their investment.”
He said “the majority” of the 135-strong retail network is making profit, and this will improve as volumes increase.
Next year will be positive for dealers, with the first full year with new Fabia, Roomster fully established plus the launch in March of Fabia estate, which Craft said will do “3,500 units conservatively”. A new Superb will arrive later in the year – “a huge statement for the brand,” Craft said – followed by Skoda’s first SUV, based on the Yeti concept revealed last March.
Skoda has been buoyed by response to its Fabia “cake” advertising campaign, which gained national coverage. Craft said research has shown an uplift in unprompted awareness of the Skoda brand as a result, and real consideration of Skoda by car-buyers has increased to 20% from 12-14%.
“The products themselves stack up to all the mainstream competition in terms of value for money and product quality. Key to the growth in part is simply getting more people to consider Skoda in the first place,” Craft added.