The brand sold just 3555 cars last year on the back of heavy discounting, compared with 54,892 sales for its better-known German parent brand.
While the 2013 sales were a local record for the brand, it’s still well shy of original forecasts set by Skoda when it returned to the market in 2007.
New Skoda Octavia RS
Skoda Octavia RS.
The first two months of 2014 have not been kind to Skoda, which has seen year-to-date sales dip by more than 15 per cent.
Skoda director Michael Irmer says the brand has been investing in its future.
“I think last year was a year for us of planning for the future of Skoda,” he says.
“This year is the transition year, the year when we are basically about to launch all those cars.
“We obviously want to end up higher than last year. How high we go, we will see.”
Skoda is pushing hard to regain ground.
It stopped sponsoring the GWS Giants AFL team and its stadium, and will invest that money into traditional advertising to push the Skoda brand further.
“We’re not saving any money, we’re just shifting money into advertising,” he says.
“It was predominantly the job to bring out the name Skoda, which I think we have delivered on.
“If you talk to people on the street you would probably find the majority of them would have heard about Skoda and know at least that it’s a car brand.
“The next part of the journey is to make them more aware of the different models… and why they should consider us when they make a purchasing decision.”
Irmer says Skoda monitors its brand awareness very closely and hoped to raise further awareness in coming months.
Skoda discounted popular models by several thousand dollars last year, and is currently doing deals on 2013-plate cars.
The Fabia RS hot hatch has been cut by thousands from $27,990 plus on-road costs to $24,990 drive-away, while the Superb sedan has been trimmed from $38,990 plus on-road costs to $33,990 drive-away.
Skoda’s Yeti compact SUV is currently on sale from $31,580 drive-away, well down on its regular price of $37,990 plus on-road and dealer costs.
Irmer says his company is currently short on stock but that will change with the launch of four models before July, including the Octavia RS performance flagship.
“We next launch the Yeti facelift and the Rapid Spaceback [five-door hatch], which will happen in early May,” he says.
“In June or July we will do a facelift of the Superb as well.
“The cars are already coming, they are on the water.”
Skoda is also rumoured to be working on a range of SUV models.