Skoda: China anchoring global sales

By Han Tianyang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-13 11:16
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Sustainable growth

The biggest issue Skoda now faces in the fast-developing market in China is to "manage growth in a good way", he added.

"Skoda wants to go faster than the market - we have to build up capacity, dealerships, new products," Vahland said. "We have to do it always (in the way that) satisfies the customer, bringing them the quality we have promised."

Before he was appointed board chairman of Skoda in September, Vahland was president and CEO of Volkswagen Group China for five years, when he consolidated the automaker's lead in the Chinese market through aggressive introduction of new products.

Last week's briefing was the first time Vahland returned to China and talked with the press after assuming his new position.

"I'm missing China," he laughed, promising he would come frequently to support the development of Skoda. Vahland said Skoda will also focus on markets in Russia and India.

The century-old Czech brand aims to be more global and double its annual sales worldwide to more than 1.5 million units in the next decade.

The company also plans to increase its product lineup from six models to up to 10, Vahland said.

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"The worldwide automotive economy is recovering very fast and it's very important that Skoda defines worldwide strategy to cope with that growing business and gain more market share."

He added that Korean brands will be the key competitors for Skoda in the global market, even though in China it has a higher consumer perception than Hyundai and Kia.

"We will not change our well-positioned branding strategy here in China," he said.

But the entire Volkswagen group has to be wary of rapidly rising competitors in China such as Japan's Toyota and South Korea's Hyundai and Kia, he explained.

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