Another Brand from the Volkswagen Group Considers Entering North America
German business paper Handelsblatt (Subscription Required) broke news yesterday that Skoda, the Czech brand known for building high-quality vehicles at affordable prices, is currently talking about moving into other markets where it doesn't a presence such as North America - a place that makes up 20 percent of the global car market).
A spokesman for Skoda confirmed this to Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required).
"In the past our focus was on the European market and our path to growth was in China. Now we are discussing the next step for the brand," the spokesman said.
The spokesman went on to say a decision as to which markets Skoda will enter is not expected anytime soon.
It should be noted that Skoda has filed trademarks for some of their models - Yeti, Octavia, and Superb - along with the Skoda name. This was first reported by AutoGuide last week.
Obvious question here, why?
Automotive News Europe says Skoda is looking into other markets as Russia - one of their key markets - is experiencing an economic meltdown, causing automotive sales to drop.
What do analysts say?
We'll begin with Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He tells Handelsblatt that "Skoda could be the cheapest solution" to VW Group's American problems - referring to the diesel emission scandal. His plan would have Volkswagen (the brand) pull out of the U.S. with Skoda taking its place.
Other analysts are skeptical about Skoda's chances in the U.S. Frank Schwope, analyst with NordLB tells Reuters the brand would have to 'fight tooth and nail in the United States' due to an already saturated market for cars.
What are your thoughts on Skoda?
The U.S. market is a tough market to crack because of how selective we tend to be. If you want proof of this, just look at Fiat. It doesn't help that most consumers are going crazy for crossovers at the moment - something Skoda is lacking at the moment as they only have one.
One automaker that has recently announced a return to the U.S., PSA Peugeot Citroën has a ten-year plan that will help them figure out whether it is a good or bad idea to enter.
As someone who loves Skoda and many of their vehicles, I would tell them that maybe it would be a good idea to pass on the U.S. for now. But if they have their heart set on coming to U.S., I would make sure a lot of research is done, along with having a decent number of crossovers.
Pic Credit: Skoda