Dave Leggett | 27 January 2005
I spent a bit of time on the phone earlier today with a journalist, Jonathan Ledgard, looking for my views on Skoda as part of his research for an article he’s writing for a US business magazine (www.strategy-business.com). We had a good chat and I took him through the history since Volkswagen acquired Skoda – better products on generic Volkswagen platforms in the 1990s, brand image improves but then the perils of brand differentiation – or lack of it - eventually came back to haunt Volkswagen Group.
And I guess that is the big challenge ahead for a company like Volkswagen with a lot of brands under one roof. How do you avoid brand overlap and create very distinct and differentiated brands, even if the products are sharing quite a bit of componentry? Hmm. Tricky one. But one thing Volkswagen Group can do is look at having one main mass-market brand in the big emerging markets. And so you have Skoda going gangbusters in India, Volkswagen brand in China.
And in India the Skoda brand has a very sexy image I am told.
And one reason for that would be that the automobile in India is a relatively recent arrival. New cars and new brands don’t come with as much baggage as in developed markets. And that also means that places like India could be the right places for really radical designs in the future, because there is no big traditional car culture in place. There's a thought.
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