Skoda NZ riding cloud nine as it delves further into electric

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Words: Matthew Hansen
26 Jul 2021

Skoda New Zealand is as strong as it’s ever been, says general manager Rodney Gillard of a brand in the midst of adding a range of electrified models to its line-up while also kicking some fairly significant sales goals.

Speaking at the national launch of the Superb iV last week, Gillard confirmed that Skoda New Zealand recorded its best ever month of sales in June, and is set to better that number in July.

While the brand is “still having challenges with supply out of Europe”, it’s still on cloud nine — effectively selling cars on a hand-to-mouth basis.

“The market is well up this year, it’s flying,” said Gillard, pointing out an increase in private market sales of 40 per cent in 2021 and an overall increase of 19 per cent. In recent times the brand’s market share has grown by 1.6 per cent.

It expects to sell some 2000 cars by the end of the year. If successful, that will be a new annual record (up on 2019’s 1450 cars). By 2025, it’s hoped that Skoda will occupy a 4.0 per cent market share. Between now and then, it’s hoped that 5000 Skodas will be sold to Kiwis around the country.

Skoda’s supply issues are predominantly caused by the global semiconductor shortage, putting it in the same boat as a raft of other distributors. According to Gillard, Skoda’s local arm does have a slight edge over some due to the amount of communication it has directly with Europe. “We’re not going to sell a car unless we know it’s going to be shipped,” said Gillard.

While the popular Tiguan-based Kodiaq is the brand’s biggest seller of the moment, electrified Superbs and Octavias are expected to play a big role. Gillard confirmed that the Octavia iV plug-in hybrid is likely to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2021, with a launch scheduled for early 2022.

As reported earlier, Gillard is hopeful that the Enyaq — Skoda’s first electric car — could be here as soon as 2022. The nameplate’s road to New Zealand is bumpy, at one point having been pushed out to 2025. He stated that the government’s ‘Clean Car’ legislation had helped Skoda New Zealand with negotiations.

To accommodate the shift and accelerated servicing demand from the New Zealand Police, Skoda have rolled up their sleeves and bolstered their local network. Three months into its local police partnership, it’s established 18 points of contact for police to get their fleet maintained in addition to its existing dealers and service agents.

On top of this, six significant construction projects at six different premises are currently in progress. This includes the expansion of Giltrap Skoda’s showroom in Newmarket and Miles Continental in Christchurch.

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