Skoda UK outlines key three-year growth plan
13 March 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
Skoda MissionL concept
Robert Hazelwood, Skoda UK's brand director, has told BusinessCar that the next three years represent a crucial period for the company's fleet business.
"Our growth plan starts at just over 45,000 (total UK sales in 2011) to 78,000 by 2015. Fleet sales need to go from 22,000 to 36-38,000 in 2015," he declared.
To achieve this goal, Hazelwood said the company had contacted its entire dealer network and asked "who would like to be big in fleet?" A total of 40 dealers said 'yes' and are set to become dedicated fleet centres with 75-80% of their business coming from corporate customers.
He said: "We call it our 'fit for fleet' strategy. We will provide additional financial support to fund dedicated fleet sales and provide every fleet centre with business leads every week."
Hazelwood also said the brand's forthcoming products will also play a large part in its strategy for increasing business car sales: "The real fleet revolution in Skoda starts next year with a car codenamed 'A-entry'. It is going to come in between the Fabia and Octavia and will be announced formally in Paris. It's almost replacing the old, last-generation Octavia."
Rumours of a revival of the Rapid name (a coupe built by Skoda during the 1980s) have been circulating but Hazelwood neither confirmed nor denied that the new hatchback would bear the same badge.
It is likely to bear a strong resemblance to the MissionL concept unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2011.
He also confirmed that the next Octavia will arrive next year: "In March we get the next-generation Octavia, then the estate version two to three months later, then the vRS after that. If there were ever a fantastic, exciting design and an ideal fleet car, then it's the next-generation Octavia."
Hazelwood claimed the next generation of products have "all the intrinsic Skoda values - value, practicality, etc - but what they have on top of that is fantastic design". He summed up by saying that "2013 is the year of Skoda in fleet".
Jürgen Stackmann, chief sales and marketing officer at Skoda, said that the company had seen a 15.3% (worldwide) rise in sales in 2011 despite having no new models, but the company has a large number of them lined up for release in the medium-term future.
He added: "This is the real start of a three- to four-year product journey that gives new cars at least every six months or so from now on."
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