The Czech auto industry continues to go from strength to strength, with cars produced in this country placing highly in their categories at the international level, Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday.
The new Superb, produced by the Volkswagen-owned Škoda Auto, is outselling other cars in its class, including the Ford Mondeo and the Opel Insignia, even doing better than the latter in its German domestic market.
Only the Passat, produced by Volkswagen itself, is more successful in the large family car category at present, Hospodářské noviny said.
The Superb’s success isn’t just driving Škoda’s profits – it’s also helping to boost the whole of Czech industry, with car producers and their suppliers continuing to outperform other sectors.
In the first three quarters of this year the country’s car manufacturers produced a record one million vehicles, an increase of 7 percent on the same period in 2015.
What’s more the industry is benefiting from higher production of bigger and more expensive models, such as the Superb, which has been enjoying double-digit sales growth, according to Hospodářské noviny.
But the large family car is by no means the only successful Czech-produced auto. Data for the first three quarters from Europe (including Russia and Turkey) show that the Škoda Octavia is after four years on the market the second best-selling compact car after Volkswagen’s Golf.
However, the Golf is mainly sold as a hatchback while the Octavia comes exclusively in family-friendly lift-back and combi models, and the latter is the best-selling family car in Europe, Hospodářské noviny says.
Škoda spokesman Tomáš Kubík told the business daily that new orders filled the company with optimism for the future. Indeed in the first nine months of the year, the German-owned Czech marque increased production by some 10 percent to 565,000.
Company management are hoping ongoing facelifts of the Octavia and the Rapid, a small family model, will boost sales of both. Mr. Kubík pointed out that Škoda are also preparing an offensive in the SUV segment with their new Kodiaq model. Its launch will be followed by the unveiling of a larger Yeti.
Škoda is not the only local producer making inroads into the SUV market. Hyundai’s new Tuscon, which is also made at the firm’s plant in Nošovice, north Moravia, has become the second biggest seller in its class around the globe.
The auto industry is dependent on the overall development of the economy and the outlook is quite positive, analyst Jan Linhart of KMPG told Hospodářské noviny. But Mr. Linhart warned that the position of local car producers and their suppliers would be weakened once the Czech National Bank abandons its export-friendly policy of keeping the crown down.
For almost three years, the CNB has been intervening on the currency markets to ensure the crown remains at around 27 to the euro. Central bank officials say, however, that it will likely be discontinued in the first half of next year.