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Skoda Australia price increases: CEO says brand has work to do on value

Dylan Campbell

As prices rise, Skoda CEO Klaus Zellmer admits there’s “homework” to do in Australia

The global boss of Skoda, Klaus Zellmer, has acknowledged criticism of rapid price increases in Australia, and says the Czech brand must do “homework” to emphasise the value for money of its cars locally.

The Volkswagen-owned marque has come under fire in recent years for frequent price increases, such as the Skoda Kamiq 85TSI – which leapt from $30,990 to $37,990 (both driveaway) during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Skoda CEO Klaus Zellmer
Skoda’s CEO Klaus Zellmer says the brand has work to do in Australia

Prices of other Skoda models have risen by up to $2000 to $2700 in a similar timeframe. Local representatives of the brand blamed COVID-related “cost pressures” for the increases.

Skoda Auto CEO Klaus Zellmer told Chasing Cars that value is a “work in progress” and that the criticism is understood.

“We all know the crazy times we went through with COVID and the semiconductor shortages,” he said. “You have to optimise the restricted number of cars you can sell and the profit you need to stay above the water. 

“We did reasonably well at Skoda – our profitability also through COVID, semiconductor (shortages), loss of production capacity, we did that well, but we’re very well aware that there’s a bit of homework to do there for Australia.”

2024 Skoda Kamiq front 3/4 driving shot
The prices of several Skoda models, including the Kamiq, have gone up considerably in recent years

When asked if Skoda was still the budget brand of the Volkswagen Group, Zellmer said it is now equal to Volkswagen – in what is a shift from the brand’s traditional affordable positioning.

“I think we’re now on eye-level,” he said. “It used to be [the budget brand]; the differentiation between Skoda and Volkswagen, and then SeatCupra, is the design.

“If you take one very good example … the [Skoda] Enyaq versus the [Volkswagen] ID4. They are completely different cars, they share the same platform, they share many synergies, many cost-saving potentials were lifted, and this is where we’re going.”

Skoda Vision 7S Concept 2022-8
Skoda recently previewed its Vision 7S Concept

Zellmer said the MEB-based electric Vision 7 seven-seat SUV – due around 2026 – will “change our identity in a way” but went on to clarify that value was still core to the Skoda brand. “Value for money is always important for Skoda and will remain important,” he said.

In 2023, the cheapest Skoda you can buy in Australia is the $32,190 Scala 85TSI Ambition. In 2013, it was the $18,990 Fabia 77TSI.

Additional reporting by Tom Baker

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