Respect the Czechs — Our Skoda News Round-Up

OK, when it comes to Skoda, we admit we’re biased. After all, we specialise in providing MOTs, servicing and repairs for the marque (and all the other VW Group brands).

But honestly, they’re such great cars. Owners love ’em, because they’re well-designed, sturdy, reliable and affordable. Pick the right model and you can zoom along twisty roads, or swish around in luxury, or just potter economically around town.

With that in mind, we think we should catch up with the latest developments at our favourite Czech motoring giant.

So, how’s Skoda been doing?

Pretty well, considering the circumstances. These are tough times for the car industry, with sales tanking across the world. Few companies are immune — and that includes Skoda. Their sales over the first half of 2019 are down 4.9% from last year, mainly thanks to a contracting Chinese market.

But despite this, Skoda actually managed to increase their revenue from sales by 10.8%. They were able to keep their operating profit stable and invest more in assets and research. That’s way better than many of their competitors.

How about Skoda’s corporate reputation?

From controversies over Amazon’s taxes to Facebook’s episodes with Cambridge Analytica, big corporations are under the microscope right now. Many punters just don’t want to support companies that behave irresponsibly towards their employees, their clients, or the environment.

So it’s good to know that — as far as we can tell — Skoda still have a solid record for corporate responsibility. In fact, they were named Most Responsible Large Company in the 2018 Business for Society awards. For example, over the last eight years (2010-2018), Skoda have made massive strides in cleaning up their manufacturing. They’ve reduced water consumption per car by 38% and slashed their nasty VOC (volatile organic compounds) output by half. They’re big on recycling too, with the Skoda Scala made from 85% recycled materials.

Fair enough… but I’m more interested in how good Skoda’s cars are.

Well, we did already tell you that they’re great cars. But if you want some evidence, let’s look at the 4 x 4 s. The Kodiaq, Octavia Scout and Superb all won 2019 awards in Germany’s Auto Bild Allrad, Europe’s biggest all-wheel drive magazine. It’s the fifth time that the Octavia Scout has won an award, and the tenth victory for the Superb 4 x 4.

In case you thought that was some quirk of the German motoring press, UK-based What Car gave the Skoda Superb their 2019 Award for Executive Car (under £25,000):

Skoda aren’t just hits with the motoring press, either. In May, market researchers JD Power released their annual report into vehicle owner satisfaction, based on 12,500 responses from car owners. The survey, which focuses on quality and reliability, found that just six models had achieved its very highest customer satisfaction standards. Two of them, the Fabia and Rapid, are made by Skoda (and Skoda was the only manufacturer with two models making the grade). On top of that, the Fabia won the small car category, with its owners rating 1-3 year old vehicles more highly than any rivals. It’s the little car’s third win in five years.

Are there any interesting Skoda cars coming soon?

Yes, two spring to mind.

Well, actually, the first one’s an update. The superb Skoda Superb is getting a makeover, with smart new looks, LED lights, digital gauges and several mechanical upgrades. From next year, you’ll be able to get a petrol hybrid, which couples a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine with an electric motor. Owners can look foward to 215bhp and 400Nm of torque for effortless overtaking joy.

There’s also a brand-new offering — the Citigo e iV. The clue’s in the name: it’s an electric car designed for cities. Skoda’s first electric-only vehicle will have an optimal range of 165 miles, which should be more than enough for its target market. Auto Express anticipate that prices will start from about £18,000. That’s still expensive for a small car, but massively cheaper than many of its EV rivals.

Respect the Czechs, then?

Looking at all the above, you’d better believe it. Skoda’s been going for 124 years and sold 22 million vehicles, with one-quarter of those sales coming in the last five years. With award-winning cars and the backing of the mighty VW group, we think it’s fair to say that they’re forging ahead.

The Welsh VW Specialist blog covers a wide range of automotive topics, from the contentious to the light-hearted. We are an independent garage specialising (as the name suggests!) in all the VW group marques, including Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT. Welsh VW Specialists provide services, repairs and MOTs, delivering a main dealer level of care at affordable prices. To book your vehicle in, or for any enquiries, get in touch.