Volkswagen Could Start Selling Skoda Cars in the U.S.
While the Skoda brand name of automobiles may be fairly unknown in the United States, according to a new report, the Czech automobile manufacturer and division of Volkswagen Group could be the newest automaker to open its doors in the USA. The only question is, will it? According to trade publication Automotive News, a Skoda spokesperson has confirmed to the outlet that the Czech automaker is investigating entry into other world markets outside of Europe, “that includes North America.” While this wouldn’t be the first time a Skoda has been sold on these shores (a small number were imported to the US in the 1950s), it would mark a pivotal moment for one of Europe’s fastest growing manufacturers and a potential respite for parent company Volkswagen, which remains entrenched in its US diesel emissions scandal. RELATED: This 1974 VW Beetle has Driven Just 56 Miles... Ever
Since 1991, VW Group has owned the 121-year-old Czech automaker, and in the past two and a half decades Skoda has increasingly gained praise for remarkable build quality and customer satisfaction. In its world markets, Skoda vehicles are marketed at a price point below comparable Volkswagens, however all share their platforms with other VW Group automobiles.
It is worth noting that while both the United States and Canada adhere to similar and very strict vehicle safety standards, North America also includes Mexico, which meets a separate set of regulations. As such, many global car models and even some entire brands are sold in Mexico though not north of the border, including Peugeot, Renault, and SEAT vehicles, for example.
Considering the high cost of meeting US federal vehicle safety standards, this could mean Skoda vehicles may sell in Mexico, but not the United States or Canada.
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Interestingly though, last month Skoda filed trademarks for three of its best selling vehicles with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Skoda Superb, Octavia, and Yeti crossover. A fourth vehicle, the new Kodiaq SUV, would seem ideal for the US market, though no trademarks for that model have surfaced yet.
Thus far, Skoda is performing quite well for 2016, having delivered 276,600 vehicles globally in the year’s first quarter, bringing total revenue up 6.4 percent to €3.3 billion and operating profits up 30 percent to €315 million.
No decisions have reportedly been made yet regarding Skoda’s North American market entry though.
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