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Best year ever for Skoda

Skoda increased pre-tax profits to £335.3 million in 2006, a 41% rise on 2005.

Sales figures were recorded at a record breaking 549,667 vehicles sold, up 11.7% on 2005.

The Czech Republic manufacturer also increased production by 12.5% to 556,433 vehicles throughout last year.

Skoda said the factors behind its positive results include the ‘successful model and site organisation policies including increased sales volumes, as well as successful implementations of process and cost optimisation programmes’.

Holger Kintscher, Skoda Auto BOD member responsible for finance, said: “Last year was the most successful in the history of the Skoda Auto Group, and we are pleased about the trend in the pre-tax profit that we have managed to increase by 41%.

“The dynamic growth of our financial indicators shows that we are doing well in terms of increasing the volume of sales, and that our quality is improving, too, which makes us optimistic as far as the future of the Skoda brand is concerned.

“However, we are rather concerned about some costs in the Czech Republic, mainly in connection with exchange rate tendencies and the increasingly strong Czech crown. Just like other companies in the Czech Republic that export a lot, Skoda, a company where exports account for a dominant share of the overall turnover, has incurred considerable damage. And the never-ending postponing of the Euro introduction does not contribute to certainty in our planning, either."

Detlef Wittig, Skoda Auto BOD chairman, said: “The year 2006 was exceptional in many respects.

We launched the Roomster, our fourth model line, in the respective markets. We managed to get over the magical threshold of 500,000 vehicles produced and sold and closed the year with record-breaking results.

“In the context of the company's continuous development, 2007 is going to be the year of the new Fabia and we all believe that this new vehicle will be as successful as its predecessor. We are going to focus on reinforcing our positions in European markets and on extending our capacities in China, Russia and India.”

#AM_ART_SPLIT# For the first time in the company's history, Skoda’s best-selling model was the Octavia (270,274 vehicles including the estate version, 15.8% growth). The previously best-selling model, Fabia (hatchback, sedan and estate) finished second with 243,982 vehicles (3.1% growth, compared with the previous year). On top of that, the company sold 20,989 Superbs and 14,422 Roomsters.

Skoda increased its sales in western Europe by 9.1% (301,343 vehicles in total). The most successful markets were Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Austria. Year-on-year sales and market share figures went up, too. Germany, Skoda's best market, saw 118,527 new vehicle registrations (market share of 3.4%).

In central and eastern Europe (Czech Republic not included), Skoda delivered 146,612 vehicles (21.6% growth, compared with 2005). The best markets in this region were Poland where Skoda sealed its position of the country's best-selling brand and Slovakia, a market that has been strong for many years. Skoda also grew significantly in Romania, the Ukraine and Russia.

Skoda Auto sold 36,541 vehicles (+21.1%) in Asia and overseas. The leading markets there are India, Turkey and Egypt.

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