Skoda CEO Thomas Schafer has called 2021 “one of the most difficult years in [the carmaker’s] history,” with global sales down 12.9 percent to 8,78,200 units. For the first time in eight years, the Czech company has failed to sell more than one million cars.
Almost every market for Skoda was down during the semiconductor crisis and COVID-19 pandemic that afflicted the entire industry, with one exception: India.
Chinese sales were hit the hardest, with deliveries falling by 58.8%, while deliveries in Western Europe fell by only 5.9% to 4,09,000 vehicles. The United Kingdom is Skoda’s fifth-largest market, after Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic, and China. Last year, 55,800 Skodas were delivered in the United Kingdom, compared to 58,700 in 2020.
Only a Few Countries have Experienced Growth
Skoda did, however, achieve double-digit growth in a few smaller-volume countries: Portugal (1,800 vehicles, up 37.4%), Norway (9,800 vehicles, up 36.9%), Ireland (9,100 vehicles, up 21.8%), the Netherlands (19,300 vehicles, up 19.0%), and Spain (19,300 vehicles, up 19.0%). (24,600 vehicles, up 17.0 percent).
The Skoda Octavia remains the company’s best-selling vehicle, but sales are down 22%. Skoda Fabia and Skoda Kamiq were the models least affected by the downturn, with deliveries falling by 6.0 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. The situation was slightly different in the United Kingdom, where the Karoq outsold the Octavia. Fabia came in third and Kamiq came in fourth, respectively.
The Charge is Led by Electric
Despite the challenges, Skoda’s first stand-alone electric vehicle, the Skoda Enyaq iV, had a “strong start” last year, with nearly 45,000 deliveries. It expects semiconductor supply to gradually improve in the second half of this year, with new products such as the Enyaq Coupe iV and the refreshed Skoda Karoq providing positive impetus.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the semiconductor shortage have slowed our growth significantly,” Schafer said. “We were able to successfully steer the company through the year and deliver a respectable result thanks to the flexibility and resourcefulness of the Skoda team, as well as close cooperation with our suppliers.”
“We expect the semiconductor supply situation to improve gradually in the second half of the year,” he added. I’m optimistic about the future; we’ve got a lot of new products in the works, including the Enyaq Coupe iV, and we’re seeing a lot of interest from customers. We have a team that is extremely motivated. The company is in an excellent position to emerge stronger from the transformation process in the long run.”
In India, Skoda is A Well-Known Brand
Following the launch of the Kushaq midsize SUV in India, Skoda Auto saw a 108.9% increase in sales last year. Last year, it delivered 22,800 vehicles, compared to 10,900 in 2020, and delivered 3,500 vehicles in December alone. The Slavia sedan and the Kodiaq SUV were also recently unveiled by the company.