The story of Skoda is a lesson in the rise, fall and resurgence of a brand.
The Czech car was once a symbol of prestige from Paris to Moscow. But by the time the Iron Curtain fell, it had been run into the ground and was largely forgotten in the West.
But Volkswagen took a gamble on Skoda and bought the Czech automaker in 1991. At the time, it had only one car model in production.
Twenty-five years to the day later and Skoda overtaking Volkswagen’s core brand. It has broken the one-million mark in car production and is now present in 102 countries.
And the automaker’s new chief executive has a strategy to keep the wheels turning. Bernard Maier took the reigns at Skoda during the leadership shakeup that followed Volkswagen’s emissions-rigging scandal.
Mr. Maier’s strategy for 2025 envisions boosting production to 1.5 million cars and breaking into even more markets. South Korea is next on the list.
“Two areas have special meaning for us,” Mr. Maier told Handelsblatt. “First, we’re starting our SUV offensive this year and second we want to be present in 120 markets worldwide by 2025.”