Engineering, value and practicality: those are the qualities Skoda believes to be behind its success. Successful it is too, with recent record sales driven by the launch of its pair of SUVs, the Kodiaq and smaller Karoq. A full electrification strategy is around the corner too, with four plug-in hybrid and six fully electric cars due to join the range between 2020 and 2025. However, none of that is to say Skoda has forgotten the role that’s to be played by its smaller, more conventional cars – which is precisely how we find ourselves behind the wheel of the freshly revised Fabia.
You could say the 2018 Paris Motor Show is as notable for what isn’t there as what is there. Absentees include Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ford, McLaren, Rolls-Royce, Volkswagen and Volvo, among others.
Since becoming part of the VW Group empire in 1991, Skoda has been given enough leeway to forge its own path. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the Yeti, a car for which you’ll find no equivalent from Volkswagen, Seat, Audi et al.
Building cars is a very serious business, but that doesn’t mean those involved can’t also be permitted to have fun every now and again. How else do you think we’d have ended up being able to buy machines as bizarre as the Renault Clio V6 or BMW M4 GTS, the purpose of which is inevitably as much to generate headlines as to boost profits.
Volkswagen has taken a serious hit in the United States after its diesel scandal.
Sales dropped by 17.2 percent in May and the German automaker holds less than two percent market share here.
To say that Volkswagen is struggling in the U.S. market is a huge understatement, but the company still has hopes of recovering and expanding here. Part of that recovery and expansion could mean the introduction of a brand that Americans don’t associate with scandal and lies. In fact, it’s a brand that’s mostly unknown to American car buyers.
Could Czech automaker Skoda be the answer to Volkswagen’s problems?
American drivers have an inferiority complex.
We’ve long pined over cars sold in Europe that are not available for purchase in the United States. It’s a complex that we Yankees have never been able to shake, though there are signs that it’s finally starting to subside.
One reason for that is we’re finally starting to get some of the vehicles we’ve always wanted. The Ford Fiesta and FIAT 500 are leading that charge, though it remains to be seen if buyers on this side of the Atlantic will embrace them long-term. The other reason for the diminishing complex is younger drivers and their complete lack of interest in cars. Why would they care what Europeans get to drive when they don’t see cars as anything more than a portable iPhone accessory?
With that in mind, here’s the question of the day:
If you could bring one European brand to the U.S., which would it be: Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Seat or Skoda?
Keep reading for a peek into each brand.