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Shanghai VW Revs up for Skoda Introduction
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To prepare for the introduction of its parent company's Skoda brand series, Volkswagen Group's Chinese joint venture Shanghai Volkswagen will kick off a dealer investment conference tomorrow in Shanghai, to select 80 dealers out of 502 who have submitted application forms to the company.


The new Octavia is expected to be the first series to be introduced under the Skoda brand. The Octavia is the best seller of Skoda, with a turnover growth rate of 28.4 percent last year.


Winfried Vahland, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group China and global vice president of Volkswagen Group, said, "as one of the most applauded international brand within Volkswagen Group, Skoda has, especially in the recent years, achieved extraordinary performance in global scale."


"Considering the strong capacity of Shanghai Volkswagen and its proven track of win-win cooperation with its dealers, we're confident of a broad future for Skoda in China and a best experience to be brought to its Chinese consumers."


Vahland is the former chief financial officer of Volkswagen Group's Czech unit of Skoda. He took over the China positions in July last year.


A spokesperson from Shanghai Volkswagen pledged a win-win cooperation model with Skoda's dealership in the future.


Being one of the only four auto brands with over 100 years of history in the world, the Skoda Auto Group reached a profit before taxation amounting to 10.1 billion crowns (US$421,665 million) in 2005, with a 108 percent growth compared to the previous year. Total revenues increased by 14.5 percent to 187.4 billion crowns (US$7.82 million), and turnover grew by 9 percent with 492,111 units globally despite stagnation of the global market.


According to Volkswagen Group China, it sold 1,200 units Skoda sedans last year in China.


(China Daily March 30, 2006)


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