'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'

Deputy editor John McIlroy points to outgoing Skoda boss as a key reason for the firm's success

There was a gentle reminder this week that while the car industry is packed with incredible innovation, technology and engineering, it is, first and foremost, about people. Because it has been announced that Skoda boss Bernhard Maier is to leave the firm when his contract concludes in a couple of weeks’ time.

It’s perhaps unusual for Auto Express to single out an individual CEO like this, but Skoda remains one of the most popular brands with our readers, and Maier’s departure marks the end of a phenomenal chapter in the company’s 125-year history. He leaves after introducing models like the Kodiaq, Karoq, Kamiq and Scala, and with sales now nudging the 1.3 million mark, pretty much double what they were a decade ago. 

At a personal level, Maier has always been acutely aware of the UK market’s importance to his brand – keen to engage with British media, often asking as many questions as those we put to him.

If anything, the rumours swirling around the German media last week suggest that Maier’s biggest problem may have been that he was simply doing too good a job. Members of the overarching VW Group Supervisory Board are said to have been mildly disgruntled at Skoda’s ability to not only build cars more cheaply in Eastern Europe, but also make them to basically the same standard of quality as more expensive Volkswagens.

Maier’s departure comes at the middle of a turbulent period among VW Group management, with a switch at the helm of the VW brand itself, and the CEO position at SEAT lying unfilled after Luca de Meo switched to Renault.

These jobs are key to the ongoing success of the brands and the VW Group. But more importantly for us, the people who fill these roles will influence which cars UK customers are offered by some of the biggest brands in the business. The achievements of the outgoing Skoda boss are proof of that.

For the latest Skoda news and reviews click here...

Recommended

‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’
Opinion - Jaguar
Jaguar

‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Jaguar's rebirth is a risk worth taking
15 Jun 2022
“Toyota's GR Corolla exposes the 'drift mode' hot hatches for the frauds they really are”
Toyota GR Corolla opinion header
Toyota Corolla

“Toyota's GR Corolla exposes the 'drift mode' hot hatches for the frauds they really are”

The sensational new hot hatch, which won’t be coming to the UK, prompts Matt Robinson to consider what a ‘proper’ hot hatch really needs
1 Apr 2022
'Learn the new Highway Code and you could save lives'
Highway Code
Opinion

'Learn the new Highway Code and you could save lives'

Mike Rutherford points out some handy safety tips for roads users to stay safe
30 Jan 2022
'Jaguar Land Rover owners owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Cross'
Opinion Mike Cross
Jaguar

'Jaguar Land Rover owners owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Cross'

John McIlroy praises the retiring Mike Cross for his 37 years of developing Jaguars and Land Rovers
26 Jan 2022

Most Popular

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work
speed limiters
News

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work

Car industry body calls for UK government to adopt the new measures, but we’ll probably get them anyway…
29 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023
News

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New Toyota Corolla prototype review
Toyota Corolla prototype - front
Road tests

New Toyota Corolla prototype review

We try out the updated Toyota Corolla hybrid ahead of its official arrival
30 Jun 2022