By on January 2, 2014

Hyundai i30 3D

While Skoda has long been the Cinderella story of the Czech Republic, Skoda could soon find itself deposed as sovereign of their domestic auto market.

In an effort to boost their market share in the Czech Republic to 15 percent by the end of the decade, Hyundai has pursued a “going-native” strategy. The strategy ranges from sponsoring the national soccer team and promoting its factory (where 72 percent of Hyundai’s models sold in the country are assembled, employing 3,500 to build 300,000 units annually), to dealers displaying Skoda’s new Octavia in their showrooms alongside Hyundai’s i30 and i40 models so consumers can comparison-shop right then and there.

The result? Hyundai holds 9.6 percent of the Czech market, up from 3.6 percent ten years prior. Skoda, on the other hand, fell from 48 percent to 30 percent in the same period. However, the original home team has pushed back hard with their own war plan, sponsoring the national hockey team, launching eight new models for the 2014 model year, and relying upon tradition to keep one-third of their homeland’s market.

Like Hyundai, Skoda has a goal of increasing their European sales to 5 percent of the market by the end of the decade; Hyundai currently has 3.5 percent, Skoda holds 4.1 percent.

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15 Comments on “Hyundai Battles Skoda For Czech Republic...”

  • avatar

    Hyundai’s newest designs are so edgy, they’ll probably do very well. Still not certain about the long-term quality of their engines and powertrain.

    • 0 avatar

      The 2.4 and 3.3 are pretty good, judging from CR reliability scores of cars with these engines (Azera, Sonata). However, the 2.0T is unreliable. I think naturally aspirated engines require less maintenance. Tell that to the execs at Ford, ha! Seven recalls in a year. Sad.

  • avatar

    One of the big problems is VW decontenting Skodas to preserve VW marketshare. The Octavia was eating the Jetta/Bora’s lunch because it was the same vehicle but cheaper. Peich declared verboten on that and repositioned Skoda downmarket vs VW.
    It’ll be interesting if Winterkorn will reverse that to combat Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, Piech stopped Škoda’s move upmarket — this is what brand management is all about. But is it a real problem?

      For the first 11 months, Octavia sold about 16,600 units. Golf sold about 4,500 … the entire Hyundai brand was at 14,400. I think Octavia is doing quite all right.

    • 0 avatar

      VW is decontenting every freaking thing they make!

  • avatar

    Before the iron curtain fell, Škoda probably had 80% of the market in what was then Czechoslovakia. Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, opening up its borders and markets, so it was fully expected that Škoda would not be able to maintain a 50% share.

    Given the 30% to 10% edge in market share, and Hyundai’s goal to increase to 15% in six years, it’s not quite a battle for the crown quite yet.

  • avatar

    I watched Chris Goffey’s review of the old Skoda Favorit estate on old Top Gear. It seemed thoroughly basic and tractor-like. Of course this was the early 90s, and I don’t think it was under the big VW umbrella til after that.

    I’ve always liked their emblem though. Seems very Scandinavian to me.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the Favorit was the last of the pre-VW models. Designed in the mid-1980s, it continued for a few years after VW took over, and was replaced in 1995 by the Felicia.

    • 0 avatar
      Vipul Singh

      I remeber Clarkson’s review of the Favorit and he liked it too. His only issue was that the fuel gauge read full while going around a right handed bend and empty while going around a left handed bend.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    I am amazed that Skoda is taken seriously as a car. I was running a garage in the 1970’s and we often had skodas of various ages in for repair. Mostly due to the fact that although the basic design was both clever and advanced,the actual quality was shit.
    I lost count of the number of headgaskets we had to replace in the wet liner engines .
    It got to the point where only a serious eccentric would even consider owning a Skoda,the joke car of the 70’s. And yet today I see soccer mums proudly cruising around in their new Fovorit or Octavia. Time heals all wounds i guess.

    • 0 avatar

      There were lots of dreadful cars in the 1970s … Ford Pinto, or Morris Princess, or VW 411, or Saab 96, or … Yes, a lot of time has passed since then, and a lot of things have changed.

      If I recall correctly, an iron curtain even fell during that time!

      • 0 avatar

        The iron curtain fell in 1989 but yeah, the Skoda was an interesting car and for many of the wrong reasons. I had a neighbour who was restoring one around 1995 or thereabouts. The car was only five or six years old at the time(!), yet he still figured it was worth the effort to re-do the rusty body, re-build the crappy engine and replace the “over-engineered” (huh?) brakes.

        Yet there WERE worse cars from that part of the globe: Lada and Yugo come to mind.

  • avatar

    “Skoda could soon find itself deposed as sovereign of their domestic auto market.”

    Huh? Skoda holds >30% of the market, Hyundai is below 10%. That’s not a contest for market leadership. Not even close.

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