CHINA: Skoda to add imports to keep pace
Skoda plans to start imports to China next year through two possible distribution channels, according to management board member for sales and marketing Werner Eichhorn.
One way is via exclusive showrooms built by Volkswagen Group's imported vehicle sales division, alternatively sales could go through existing Shanghai VW dealerships.
The Czech brand currently assembles the Fabia, Octavia and Superb at the joint venture between VW and Shanghai-based SAIC and China has already become the biggest market worldwide for the Czech brand only five years after it started local production.
Sales of the three models in China passed 200,000 units in the first 10 months this year in China, about a quarter of its global delivery of nearly 800,000 units in the period.
To further tap the market potential, Skoda plans to begin imports to China, likely to include the Yeti SUV before its planned production at the joint venture begins, the Rapid and wagon versions of the Superb and Octavia.
Eichorn said: “Skoda is still in an early stage of its development in China, our next plans are to introduce more new models, enhance brand recognition and expand the sales and service network.
"We also expect to double production in China in the next few years," he added.
Eichhorn said that the slowing car market in China had not affected the company's expansion plans. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China's passenger vehicle sales increased about 6.9% in the first 10 months to about 12.6m units.
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