Skoda will focus on no-frills models as it aims to grow twice as fast as parent Volkswagen and spur the VW Group to the top of the global sales charts.

The company wants to be “an affordable brand focused on practical, solid products,” Juergen Stackmann, the brand’s sales chief, said in an interview with Bloomberg News at its headquarters in Mlada Boleslav adding that “the term ‘exclusivity’ is nowhere to be found at Skoda.”

The news agency notes that the shift of focus is expected to diffuse tension after Skoda encroached on VW’s market with the Superb saloon and estate, leading to the departure of former chief Reinhard Jung.

Skoda’s new strategy is led by Winfried Vahland, tipped by some analysts as a potential successor to VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. It marks an about-turn from the position a few years ago when it started to move upmarket with models like the Superb which, in 2009, was rated above the more expensive VW Passat in a quality survey by Auto Bild, a German car magazine.

This week the company launches its Citigo city car (a version of the VW up! and SEAT Mii) in the Czech Republic; it has a price tag of EUR9,300 (US$12,400). Next month its launches the Rapid, a small saloon, in India and starts production of the Yeti SUV in Russia.
Skoda’s change of direction has been highlighted by the breakdown of the alliance with Suzuki which was supposed to provide VW with low-cost cars for emerging markets. That role will now be filled by Skoda.