Fleet News

Skoda sets its sights on new market areas

SKODA has broken all its sales records this year and is setting its sights firmly on becoming a major player in the fleet market with plans afoot to expand its range into the executive car and 4x4 markets. The Czech company announced at the Motor Show that it is hoping to sell 20,000 cars this year.

A total of £750 million has been ploughed into the company in the last seven years and with plans to invest a further £1 billion in the next three to four years Skoda remains the fastest expanding car manufacturer, having doubled production capacity in the last few years. Volume sales have increased 118% since 1995.

It is now payback time for Skoda and the company is prepared to enjoy - and capitalise - on the rewards. John Waugh, dealer operations' manager for Skoda UK, admitted the company had been caught off guard by the interest generated as a result of the launch of the Octavia: 'It's been overwhelming. We planned production a year in advance of the launch and we asked the factory for 3,500 for the UK market, but we quickly realised orders would exceed this and said in June we needed more. We are going to get another 1,500.

'This phenomenal growth in retail custom has led us to look seriously at the fleet market. We have to get into fleets. We are in the process of appointing a business sales manager. We are also putting our dealers through a training scheme to enable them to deal with fleet sales, although a certain amount of this business will be dealt with directly by Skoda UK.'

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