Sleek Reboot

Volkswagen's Daughter Grows Up

Winfried Vahland Imago CTK Photo
Skoda CEO Winfried Vahland in the new Skoda Superb at Geneva Motor Show.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Skoda has set an aggressive sales goal for 2015 as it seeks to become more than just the cheaper version of its Volkswagen parent.

  • Facts


    • Skoda presented its new version of the Superb sedan at the Geneva Motor show this week.
    • VW boss Martin Winterkorn’s efficiency drive has increased Skoda’s profitability margins to 7.4 percent.
    • The mid-size Octavia model accounts for about 40 percent of Skoda’s sales.
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The next goal for Skoda, the 120-year-old automobile brand acquired by Volkswagen Group in 1991, has been set.

“Our new target is to sell 1.5 million vehicles per year,” said Werner Eichhorn, the Skoda executive responsible for sales and marketing.

It is an extremely ambitious goal for a company that announced it would sell one million cars a few years back, but didn’t reach that lofty number until 2014.

At the International Geneva Motor Show, Skoda executives explained the company’s strategic direction. “We need to create an emotional appeal for the brand,” Mr. Eichhorn said, pointing to the latest edition of its Superb model, a large sedan with angular design.

The unconventional lines of the new Superb testify to the brand’s growing self-confidence – and its ambition to be more than just a cheaper version of Volkswagen.

The Czech car company has shaken off the limitations of its socialist past, thanks to Volkswagen, which wasn’t frightened off by the outdated technical state of the plant immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The company recognized the potential of Skoda and won a spirited bidding war for the automaker.

Now, Skoda is number three in terms of car registrations within the Volkswagen Group, behind VW and Audi. About 10 percent of all vehicles produced by the group come from the Czech subsidiary.

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