Škoda Auto mulls drive into US market

Photo: archive of Škoda Auto

Czech car maker Škoda Auto is considering entering the US market, the German business daily Handelsblatt wrote this week. The move comes as its German owner Volkswagen attempts to retrieve sales lost in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal in the US.

Photo: archive of Škoda Auto
The Czech brand has already filed several trademarks with US authorities to protect the names of models such as the Octavia, Superb and Yeti.

According to Škoda’s spokesman, the group is evaluating the potential of regions where it doesn’t sell cars yet, including North America. He also told the daily that a decision on the matter is not expected any time soon.

Next week, Volkswagen is set to unveil its so called “strategy 2025” describing where the group will proceed following the emission scandal. The main aim of the plan is to repair the damage done in the US, where the rigging of the emissions tests came to light more than eight months ago.

According to VW records, sales of their cars last year on the US market have dropped by over 10 percent year on year to 207,800 vehicles.

Analysts, however, remain sceptical about Škoda’s chances of success on the US market, noting that until recently Škoda has been largely ignoring the market for crossover and sport-utility vehicles which are so popular with the US consumers.

Frank Schwoppe, analyst for NordLB, told the Reuters agency that “Skoda would do better to get engaged in emerging markets like India or South America.”

Škoda, however, seems to take its plans to establish on the SUV market quite seriously. The Czech brand is set to present its new terrain vehicle called Kodiaq at the auto salon in Paris in September. It will be based on its concept VisionS model, launched in Geneva in March. The Czech car maker will also present a new model of its only existing SUV vehicle, the Yetti, next year.

Škoda has already attempted to break into the United States in the past. In the late 1950s, the Czechoslovak brand started to export its Felicia compact to North America with the full backing of US advertising and campaigns before taking it off the market a few years later due to poor sales.