I suppose Skoda was thinking about practical family cars that were a cut above the mainstream, but didn’t have premium pretensions. The sort of cars that Volvo had been building, but were now keen to leave behind. It seems Skoda’s strategy was spot-on.
Last year Skoda sold a bit over 700,000 cars and is making good progress in new markets including India and China. Rover, in stark contrast, is long-gone, a victim of failed upmarket pretensions and an inability to make any money.
Volvo is struggling. It’s currently up for sale, jobs have been slashed, annual sales have slid to under 400,000 and its suffered big cash losses in the crucial US market.
And you only have to take one look at the Superb estate to see why Volvo has another headache on the way.
Skoda’s new load-lugger is huge and, judging by the saloon, will be very well made and good to drive. Spec for spec, it’ll also be significantly cheaper than the V70.
It is the ideal car for practically minded people who regard their car as a tool, rather than a lifestyle statement. The Superb estate will appeal to those drivers used to buy old-school Volvos or, more likely, are still running them and need a new car.
Volvo’s latest TV ad for the XC60 states that ‘There’s more to life than a Volvo’. Is this a belated realization that Volvo’s target buyers are not that bothered by beautifully finished, Scandinavian-influenced interiors and that they want robust, unpretentious, practicality?
It’s something that Skoda realized a long time ago.
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