The modern day Skoda entered the Irish market in 1993 under the stewardship of Motor Distributors Limited who were the distributor for Volkswagen Group products until the company established a national sales company in Liffey Valley in 2008 to distribute Skoda products.
Directed by the late graet Eddie Thornton, Skoda Ireland launched in 1993 with a two car range; the ‘Favorit’ – a small family hatchback and the ‘Forman’ – a light commercial vehicle. Both were powered by a 1289cc petrol engine, producing 68bhp. The Favorit retailed from £7,250 while the Forman had an entry price of £6,500.
In Skoda’s first year just 76 new vehicles were registered through a dealer network of four dealers.
1998 was a turning point for the brand in Ireland with the market introduction of the Octavia, and afterwards the Octavia Estate, with the latest technologies from the Volkswagen Group.
The following five yearswasa period of significant growth for Skoda Ireland on the back of further model launches such as the ‘Fabia’ super mini in 2000, a finalist in the Irish Car of The Year, and the ‘Superb’ executive saloon in 2002, as well as the expansion of the dealer network to 21.
Skoda’s growing market share in Ireland stands at 6.7% as of May this year (more than dobled from doubled from 3.0% in 2008). It sold over 5,000 units in 2012 through an independent dealer network of 22. Skoda Ireland hopes that each of their dealers will play an important role in their continued growth to achieve a stated objective of an 8 per cent market share in Ireland by 2016.
Not many people realise that Skoda is the third oldest car brand in the world and was founded in the former Czechoslovakia in 1895. It was located in the heart of Europe in the Bohemian town of Mlada Boleslav (60km from Prague) the first half of the 20th century saw Skoda survive two world wars. Post 1945, Skoda fell under the communist regime and the company was state controlled. After the fall of communism in 1991, Skoda became part of the Volkswagen Group.
Commenting, John Donegan, Brand Director for Skoda Ireland, said: “We are extremely proud of what has been achieved over the past 20 years. The last five years have been among the most challenging the car industry has seen but our products have proven they are fitting for the current environment where customers are attuning to value more than ever before. This is only the beginning for Skoda. We have doubled our market share in just five years and the next five years will see the introduction of even more models to the range including two new SUVs by 2018. Looking to the future, I don’t see why Skoda cannot become a top 3 car brand in Ireland.”
Donegan continued: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers, our great network of dealers and all our employees, past and present, for their contributions to the SKODA organisation over the past 20 years.