Despite slow sales, Skoda is far from being on the skids, writes NEIL McDONALD
THE sales figures for Skoda are hardly encouraging. But Volkswagen’s Czech mate is not going anywhere, Skoda Australia boss Matthew Wiesner says.
Skoda last year sold only 818 vehicles, significantly down on even its own conservative forecast.
But he arrival of the updated Octavia range and keenly specified and priced Superb should help leverage sales and expand the brand’s exposure, Wiesner says.
A lot is riding on the new Superb, which starts at $42,990 for the entrylevel Ambition 1.8-litre TFSI, rising to $56,990 for the range-topping Elegance 3.6-litre V6 with all-wheel drive.
Wiesner says he believes Superb buyers will come from higher-end Japanese brands.
‘‘But as with the Octavia, we’re seeing people coming from among the more traditional Euro car owners,’’ he says. ‘‘So we expect Superb to do something similar.’’
Fleets are also on Skoda’s agenda, particularly novated lease buyers.
‘‘They certainly present some opportunities,’’ he says. ‘‘The Superb is a good value equation for those buyers.’’
Wiesner says the sales focus at Skoda remains on quality and value.
‘‘We’ve tried to not set our expectations too high,’’ he says. ‘‘But, as an example, we are finding we’re getting a strong volume of inquiry. So in theory we should keep moving up, even if the market’s off 15 per cent.’’
Wiesner will not be drawn on a Skoda sales forecast for this year.
‘‘But the market the way it is, is going to be harder on the more established players with more vol- ume product. People are going to be far more prudent in their buying decisions too.’’
The front-wheel-drive 1.8 TFSI develops 118kW/250Nm and is mated to a VW sourced, sevenspeed, dual-clutch transmission.
The 3.6-litre V6 develops 125kW/ 350Nm and gets a six-speed dual clutch transmission.
Final Superb specifications will be announced before it goes on sale in June.
The updated Octavia goes on sale later this month.