Skoda CEO Thomas Schafer has described 2021 as “one of the most challenging years in [the carmaker’s] history,” reporting a global sales decrease of 12.9 percent to 8,78,200 units. It means the Czech firm failed to sell more than one million cars for the first time in eight years.
Amid the semiconductor crisis and COVID-19 pandemic that have affected the entire industry, almost every market was down for Skoda with one outlier: India.
- Chinese market was hit the hardest with deliveries down 58.8 percent
- Octavia continues to be the biggest seller globally
- Skoda’s first stand-alone EV gets a strong start with 45,000 deliveries
Chinese sales were hit the hardest with deliveries down 58.8 percent, while Western Europe was down a relatively modest 5.9 percent to 4,09,000 vehicles. The UK remains important for Skoda as the fifth-most-popular market, behind Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic and China. A total of 55,800 Skodas were delivered in the UK last year, compared to 58,700 vehicles in 2020.
Growth in a few countries
However, Skoda still achieved double-digit growth in a handful of smaller-volume countries: Portugal (1,800 vehicles, up 37.4 percent), Norway (9,800 vehicles, up 36.9 percent), Ireland (9,100 vehicles, up 21.8 percent), the Netherlands (19,300 vehicles, up 19.0 percent) and Spain (24,600 vehicles, up 17.0 percent).
The Skoda Octavia continues to be the firm’s biggest seller, but sales dropped 22 percent. The models least affected by the downturn were Skoda Fabia and Skoda Kamiq, whose deliveries dropped 6.0 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. It was a slightly different picture for the UK, where the Karoq outsold the Octavia. Fabia and Kamiq held third and fourth positions, respectively.
Electric leads the charge
Despite the challenges, Skoda described “a strong start” for its first stand-alone electric vehicle, the Skoda Enyaq iV, with almost 45,000 deliveries last year. It predicts semiconductor supply to gradually improve in the second half of this year and positive impetus from new products, particularly the Enyaq Coupe iV and refreshed Skoda Karoq.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the shortage of semiconductors have significantly slowed down our growth,” Schafer said. “Thanks to the flexibility and resourcefulness of the Skoda team, as well as the close cooperation with our suppliers, we managed to steer the company through the year successfully and deliver a respectable result.”
He added, “We expect the semiconductor supply situation to gradually ease in the second half of the year. I am looking ahead with confidence; we have many new products in the pipeline, including the Enyaq Coupe iV and are experiencing very high customer demand. We have a highly motivated team. Over the long term, the company is in an excellent position to emerge stronger from the transformation process.”
Skoda in India
In India, Skoda Auto achieved a growth of 108.9 percent last year, following the launch of the Kushaq midsize SUV. It recorded 22,800 vehicle deliveries last year, as against 10,900 vehicles in 2020 and delivered 3,500 vehicles in December alone. The manufacturer also unveiled the Slavia sedan and Kodiaq SUV recently.
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