Skoda’s impressive growth in recent years has often showed up its Volkswagen Group counterparts for sales increases and profit margins.

That was still the case in 2018 – deliveries grew by 4.4% year on year and profit margins were 8%, more than double that of Volkswagen.

So in many ways, it was a successful year for Skoda, so much so that the opinion piece I wrote last year still rings true.

But, for everyone including Skoda, it was a tricky year too and there’s more to come. 

CEO Bernhard Maier highlighted during Skoda’s annual press conference today that there was a host challenging factors at play, many of which those in the car industry are well-versed in. He mentioned the US and China trade war, Brexit, fluctuating exchange rates and increasing personnel costs in the Czech Republic.

Skoda’s operating profit in 2018 was down 14.6% due to major investment, mostly related to electrification and digitisation, plus modernising its plants.

There’s also a new plant in the pipeline (there is now a shortlist of four), due to be running by the end of 2022, that will require massive investment.