I’ve just got back from a brief trip to Bohemia, home of Skoda. We visited Mlada Boleslav, Skoda’s HQ for design and engineering, for a close-up look at the new Citigo, in both three and five-door versions, and for a face-to-face chat with Skoda bosses.
The Czech maker is streaming into the future, with sales this year growing at a double digit pace and expected to come in at over 800,000 units. However, the bosses at the VW group have set a very high bar for Skoda’s expansion.
By 2015, Skoda is supposed to selling around 1.5m new cars annually. That’s going to be a tricky near-doubling of sales because the Skoda line-up will expand by just two more models: an entry-level Golf hatch competitor and this Citigo. Of course, the rest of the range will be revamped and updated, but that target is asking a lot of the company, even if it continues to expand rapidly in India and China.
Skoda's MissionL concept will go into production
Skoda’s reinvention is becoming a business school set text, if it isn’t already. I first visited Prague in 1996 (the same night as Michael Jackson’s famous Prague concert, so it must have been 6 September if the web is to be believed) to see the first Octavia unveiled. It was only a few short years after the collapse of Communism and this country of exceptional engineers and artists was still finding its feet.