Skoda plans massive Chinese expansion

Skoda Rapid China
24 Apr, 2014 10:57am Graham Hope

China is the world's biggest car market, and Skoda is hoping to sell 500,000 cars there by 2018

Skoda is looking to more than double its sales in China as the world’s biggest car market continues to expand at pace.

The Czech brand announced at last weekend’s Beijing Motor Show that it hopes to sell 500,000 models in China by 2018 – a significant increase on the 227,000 it sold in 2013.

That would make China a key component of Skoda’s ambitious strategy to hit 1.5 million sales globally by 2018.

At present it has a five-strong range in China, made up of the Octavia, the Fabia, the Rapid, Yeti and Superb.

The new Octavia was launched at the show, and the Rapid Spaceback and ‘urban’ Yeti will join the range later this year.

Skoda is ramping up production at a new Shanghai Volkswagen factory in Ningbo, south of Shanghai, which only opened last year and is capable of churning out 300,000 new Octavias and Superbs a year. 

CEO Prof Dr Winfried Vahland said: “This market is our strongest individual sales region and we are entering a phase of growth. We plan to double our deliveries in the country to at least half a million a year.”

The Fabia, Rapid, Rapid Spaceback, Octavia, Yeti and Superb are all manufactured in China, with the help of local partners.

The models have subtle differences to those on offer in Europe. The Yeti, for example, has a 60mm longer wheelbase, to satisfy Chinese demand for maximum space.