In St. Petersburg in December, ŠKODA AUTO introduced the latest version of its RAPID car for the Russian market. It is among the brand’s most demanded models
Last year, ŠKODA AUTO delivered 88,609 cars in Russia
The carmaker ranks seventh with its market share of 5.44 percent in Russia
ur modernised RAPID will reach its Russian customers in mid-March. Technically, it is based on a previous design that has been fully localised for production in Russia. However, it also reflects the carmaker’s new design language. Its front mask and sharp-cut headlights follow the new-generation SCALA and OCTAVIA models, and the car’s rear is in line with the same philosophy. The interior features its brand-new look as well. “It is based on the SCALA model and will gradually appear in our other innovations for the Russian market, especially in our new OCTAVIA”, says Jan Procházka, Head of ŠKODA AUTO Russia. This process shows how important the RAPID is for the ŠKODA brand on the local market. “It is a model that carries the classic values of the Czech brand and honours its car-making philosophy and understanding of ergonomics. It features its Simply Clever solution and huge practical luggage space”, explains Procházka. “We gain our customers’ loyalty by teaching them to perceive our car as we experience it in Europe and at ŠKODA AUTO”, he adds.
On the Russian market, ŠKODA AUTO has bet successfully on local production.
Ambition to win the Russian drivers
ROur RAPID is suited to the needs of our Russian customers, who prefer practical and classically shaped cars. This car also allows our Russian customers to discover the qualities of other ŠKODA cars. In Russia, the carmaker reached its record market share last year, with the trio of RAPID, OCTAVIA and KODIAQ cars making up the vast majority of cars delivered. The offer is complemented by the representative SUPERB. This year, besides our new RAPID model, our growth will also increase thanks to the compact KAROQ SUV. Production started in Nizhny Novgorod at the end of last year, and sales for this model will begin on 14 February. Both of this year’s novelties will contribute to the further growth of the ŠKODA brand on the Russian market. Our ambitions are clear: to achieve a record sales volume and be among the Top 5 most successful brands in Russia. Luděk Vokáč
We are aiming for another record
ŠKODA AUTO’s Russia manager, Jan Procházka, describes the specifics of the local market
Which milestones were crucial for ŠKODA AUTO’s success in Russia last year?
We have focused heavily on communicating our brand’s values and our RAPID and OCTAVIA models. Our RAPID became the most successful model with 35,000 units delivered, and by the end of the cycle we were able to increase the delivery of our OCTAVIA to 27,000 units. For example, we succeeded in concluding a contract with the Russian police, which bought 3,900 cars.
How are the SUVs doing?
Last year, we offered our KODIAQ for the first time throughout the year. We presented it as our first family SUV. This helped us a lot, as the model found itself around 25,000 customers. This year, our KAROQ production in Nizhny Novgorod, which we launched in December 2019, will play a big role.
You find success among your dealers and fleet customers as well. How do you approach them?
In most cases, as an importer, we communicate directly with our fleet customers. We strive to be as transparent as possible, and we communicate intensively with them. If they have an issue, we help to solve it because we know it is our issue as well. By contrast, an ordinary customers will appreciate a loyal and well-built dealership network. The local customers decide quickly, so we have to be ready and have cars in stock.
What do you expect from 2020?
Owing to the innovations in our offering, we are striving for another record. We expect a lot from both the KAROQ model, which will open the door to the next segment, and our new RAPID version. The fourth generation of the OCTAVIA is coming at the end of the year. At the same time, we wish to work hard on people’s awareness of the ŠKODA brand. In that regard, we have a lot to catch up because many Russian customers are still not aware of the quality of ŠKODA cars. Luděk Vokáč