Skoda To Come Out With Cheap Skates?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
skoda to come out with cheap skates

After decades of “up-positioning” and premium-branding, the sudden success of cheapskate models such as the Dacia Logan has not gone unnoticed at Europe’s largest automaker Volkswagen. Czech media is abuzz with reports of a new entry model, blatantly codenamed “A Entry,” which may be part of the Skoda line-up.

Reuters cites Czech media reports that the new model could be priced around $13,650, putting it somewhere between Skoda’s smaller (Polo-based) Fabia and the larger Octavia, which sits on a PQ35 (think Golf, Jetta) platform. Priced and positioned like that, it won’t be a Logan-killer. The Dacia goes for under $10,000 MSRP.

In the meantime, rumors that VW aims a lot lower won’t die in Wolfsburg.

There is ample chitchat that VW and Suzuki are working together on something small and cheap. Volkswagen is on record, for instance in Germany’s Rheinische Post, that “there are currently no plans for a car that counters the Nano.” Weasel words like “currently” and “no plans” send smoke signals that something is cooking.

After decades of conspicuous consumption, full frontal frugality is the new-fangled fashion in Europe. For years, Mediamarkt, a chain for low priced electronics, had the slogan “Geiz ist geil.” Directly translated, it would come out as “stinginess is horny.” A more fitting rendition would be “It’s cool to be cheap.” Ladies, who formerly flashed their Gucci and Prada possessions, now proudly shop H&M. There even is a chain of – fully legal – discount bordellos in Germany, called “Geizhaus.” (Their slogan is “Geiz macht geil.” The translation “stinginess makes horny” is absolutely appropriate, even if it lacks scientific proof.)

Coming back to cars, frugal vehicles are all the rage. Powered by the “Abwrackprämie,” sales of small&cheap rocketed up by nearly 100 percent in Germany last year. Small&cheap is also important to penetrate emerging markets. In the Volkswagen portfolio, launching a Geizauto under the Skoda brand would be a logical choice. Forget the “peoples’ car.” The Czech brand, bought by Volkswagen in 1991, has become the choice of “smart shoppers” in Europe and elsewhere. They know there is a Volkswagen underneath. But they usually find more value for less money in a Skoda. According to Reuters, “Skoda sold a record 684,226 cars last year, helped by car scrapping subsidies in western markets like Germany and expansion in China.”

(PS: Note that in the article above, I rejected the offerings of my synonym dictionary, and did not use “niggardly,” such as not to offend the hair-trigger sensitivities of some not so well advised readers. Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP during the niggardly controversy, said: “You hate to think you have to censor your language to meet other people’s lack of understanding.” As much as I hate it, I will. Having said that, anyone who accuses – without due, and carefully considered cause – writers or commentators of TTAC of racism, or who incites an on-line racial riot, will be banned without warning. It happened last night. Let it not happen again.)

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2 of 9 comments
  • Stingray Stingray on Feb 22, 2010

    Is not only because a VW is beneath the "skin" of a Sköda car... it's because the thing is also good looking. I wouldn't mind to buy this . The case would be even better if it has a TSI or 1.8T engine under the hood. Or TDi... And the Superb also looks good. And I've read that Sköda cars are better assembled and have less problems that VW own cars. The Logan is FUGLY. The Sandero looks ok.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 22, 2010

    I too wonder where the cheap cars thing will go. I'll accept it from the entry level brands of various manufactures but for the love of god GM, don't try to build a $10K Buick. I myself am torn between the idea of a Hyundai Accent/Kia Rio type car "brand new" for basic commuter transportation or a used car that is larger, older, and more luxurious for my commute.

  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.Αnd who cares if they sell all they make? this is 100% worthless bragging, since they hardly make ANY. ALL of Subaru's models together, all dozen of them, sell less than the top selling Toyota or Honda or even Tesla sells. ANd furthermore, if you have the intellectual horsepower to understand it, bulldude, which I am 99% sure you sure as hell do not, it is NOT about the sales units, it is not even about the sales revenue.It is all about the P R O F I T S.Am I going slow enough for you, bulldude?
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.