Alain Favey: The Future Lies in Offering a Wide Range of Electric Vehicles

Alain Favey: The Future Lies in Offering a Wide Range of Electric Vehicles

What are the new cars being rolled out by ŠKODA? What’s in store for the marque’s electric future and what can customers and dealers expect? Alain Favey, the ŠKODA board member responsible for sales and marketing, discusses this and other matters in an interview with ŠKODA Storyboard.

24. 5. 2019 Lifestyle People

The revised SUPERB family and the electric-only CITIGOe iV have been premièred to the world at the IIHF Ice-Hockey World Championship in Bratislava. Why was Bratislava chosen to unveil the two cars?

There are several factors that have made Bratislava the ideal place to organise these world premières. The CITIGO already rolls off the production line here and it will soon be joined by the first fully electric CITIGOe iV. Staging the world première in Bratislava also carries great symbolic importance. We are proud that ŠKODA has a 20% market share in Slovakia and has been the number one on the country’s automotive market for several years now. The IIHF Ice-Hockey World Championship is currently in full swing here, and as ŠKODA has been the event’s lead sponsor for twenty-seven years, this is the icing on the cake.

Alain Favey
ŠKODA board member responsible for sales and marketing

Why has ŠKODA been partnering the IIHF Ice-Hockey World Championship for so long?

We are keen on intensive cooperation through long-term partnership. It is also important for us to combine business and sponsorship. So our work with the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship ticks all the boxes. Today, our brand is associated with ice-hockey not just by the sport’s fans, but also by our customers. In the Czech Republic, the home of ŠKODA, ice-hockey is a national sport. It’s also popular in many other countries that are significant for us. And the international audience speaks for itself: 1.2 billion ice-hockey fans around the world will be watching the world championship on their screens, and our logo is visible for 65% of the transmission time. Ice-hockey is a dynamic, traditional, attractive and engaging sport. ŠKODA identifies fully with all of these attributes. In a nutshell, ice-hockey and ŠKODA go hand in glove.

2019 is an important year for ŠKODA: by premièring the SUPERB iV and CITIGOe iV in Bratislava, ŠKODA is introducing its iV sub-brand and entering the eMobility era. What does all of this entail?

The iV goes beyond simply the manufacture of ŠKODA’s own electrified models. It is a holistic, interconnecting ecosystem for the delivery of mobility solutions. Specifically, this means we will be offering affordable wallboxes with varying levels of output so that customers have the convenience of home charging, as well as ŠKODA Connect mobile online services, perfect for smart charging station searches. This is all part of our plan to make it even easier for customers to access our eMobility know-how. As for the models themselves, each iV car can be charged with a cable.

Elektrifikovaný SUPERB iV a CITIGO<sup>e</sup> iV se představily

This means that customers buying an iV will also benefit from a wide range of additional services. Could you give us some examples?

In this area, ŠKODA is placing its faith in Simply Clever solutions and leveraging the synergies that exist within the Volkswagen Group. For example, we are working with the group on the development of wallboxes that are easy to use and deliver rapid recharging in the comfort of your own home. With Elli, a company subsidiary, we are encouraging our customers to aim for carbon-neutral mobility via the individualised offering of a “green current” network tailored to their needs. Another innovation is the ŠKODA eCharge card, which enables customers to recharge their car quickly and easily at public charging stations across Europe.

What does “iV” mean?

The letter “i” in ŠKODA iV represents several exceptional features of our iV models. In the first place, they are “innovative” and “intelligent”. These attributes are enhanced by mobility solutions precisely adapted to customers’ wishes, and by a fully interconnected ecosystem. Then there is the fact that ŠKODA iV cars are “iconic” and “inspiring”. Our new electrified cars impress with their emotive, distinctive look. On top of that, each ŠKODA iV is “individual”, courtesy of its many personalisation and equipment options. In addition, all ŠKODA iVs feature “intuitive” controls for easier and more comfortable travel. The letter “V” in the ŠKODA iV name means “vehicle”.


Are there any characteristic features that all ŠKODA iV electrified vehicles have in common?

The iVs feature the traditional advantages of a ŠKODA. Besides boasting generous interior space, they are also perfect for all sorts of everyday use, as every ŠKODA iV has a short recharging time, can travel far on a single charge, and comes at an affordable price.

When will the CITIGOe iV and SUPERB plug-in hybrid be making their way on to the market?

Customers will start collecting the keys for both models early next year.


What developments are in the pipeline?

We have ambitious targets. As early as 2022, we are planning to offer ten fully or partially electrified models. To achieve this goal, we will draw on existing group synergies and introduce cars built on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform.

In recent years, the SUV offensive has made a major contribution to ŠKODA’s commercial success and the expansion of its model range. Can we also look forward to electrified SUVs?

Our electric-only VISION iV study, exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show this year, offers a tangible foretaste of ŠKODA’s electric future. The production model based on this study will be our first vehicle built on the Volkswagen Group’s modular platform for electric cars (MEB). As we look to the future, SUVs will play an important role in our portfolio of electrified cars and, benefiting from ŠKODA’s signature strengths, they will prove a very attractive proposition on the SUV market.

One more question about the CITIGOe iV and SUPERB iV: what are your expectations for these cars in terms of demand and sales?

One thing’s for sure – the future of the automotive industry is set to have a wide range of electric vehicles, a trend driven in part by the EU’s CO2 emission limits. In the months and years ahead, this move towards eMobility will become even more striking. We project that electrified cars will account for 40% of group sales by 2030. This underlines just how important both models are to us for the future and how much we expect of them. They are the first step on the road to a model range that will be ready for the electric future of motoring.

The SUPERB SCOUT has also been given its world première in Bratislava. Where does it fit in within the SUPERB family?

The SUPERB SCOUT’s target customers lead a very active life, often have a family, are keen travellers, play sport, and do outdoor activities. They’re looking for a car that is practical, sturdy, and visually bold. They want a roomy car that is powerful enough to cope with any terrain. As the SUPERB SCOUT all-wheel-drive estate meets all these requirements, it has a clearly defined place in our model range.

Apart from its appearance, how does the SUPERB SCOUT differ from a SUPERB?

The SCOUT will be offered exclusively with the biggest engines and all-wheel drive. The Rough Road Package will protect the car from damage when it is driven on unpaved roads. On top of that, SUPERB SCOUT customers will tend to have specific design needs. This is where the SCOUT-specific Tangerine Orange paint comes in.


How are you preparing your dealer network for eMobility?

We are making some tweaks to our business model and leveraging the advantages of existing distribution channels. We need to prepare ourselves for root-and-branch changes in the provision of after-sales services and servicing in order to accommodate the emergence of eMobility and the new ecosystem. With this in mind, we have taken a number of measures so that our dealers can hit the ground running. When the two new electrified models come to market, our entire sales network will be primed to provide customers with optimal services. Our goal is to work closely with dealers and provide them with peerless advice on all eMobility-related issues.

How will the POS infrastructure need to be changed?

It will be necessary to change the way cars are displayed in showrooms and to revise the services on offer, including after-sales services. In the future, our customers will be able to charge their cars right in front of individual dealers’ showrooms. There will also be three levels of after-sales service varying in the range of services provided. Our specialised training programmes will provide professional induction training.

What digitalisation challenges do you think lie in store for ŠKODA, especially in the context of sales and marketing?

Digitalisation is another area we are working hard on. The priority for us at the moment is to sort out everything necessary for our cars to be connected and always online. The modular infotainment kit (MIB) serves as a technical basis here. This paves the way for completely new opportunities for us to connect with customers. In the future, “MyŠKODA” will become a central platform for customers to enjoy ŠKODA Connect’s broad range of services, as well as carsharing, ride-hailing and parking services. To make these services accessible to those who own older cars, we are currently working on technical solutions for network connectivity to be installed in these vehicles.

Světová premiéra modelu ŠKODA SCALA v Tel Avivu

To what extent does digitalisation affect customers’ shopping experience and how well is ŠKODA prepared for this?

Digitalisation gives us plenty of opportunity to create new experiences for our customers. In showrooms, we are gradually rolling out new concepts that tap into the latest technologies. Digital showrooms are already being piloted on a number of markets. There are moves afoot to for about ten of these showrooms in Europe. We are also revamping the after-sales service. For example, webcams are used to communicate with our clients.

Can online sales ever replace dealers?

No, our dealers are and will continue to be the beating heart of our sales operations. We rely on a mutually complementary model that will allow us to come up with a tailor-made solution, whatever the circumstances. We have negotiated framework conditions with our dealers that will enable customers, should they so wish, to order a car online and have it delivered to their home. We are now working on the technical aspects of this solution. The logistics here will remain in the hands of dealers. What we do forecast, however, is that customers will continue to use our website primarily as a way of gathering information, and that they will then go to a dealer to make the actual purchase.

Nowadays, a lot of people want to use a car, but are not interested in owning or buying one. What can ŠKODA offer in this area?

We are working on various solutions. One of them is carsharing. We harness synergies within the Volkswagen Group via the WeShare platform. In markets where our brand has a strong position, we promote apt solutions. In the Czech Republic, for instance, we have teamed up with ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab in Prague to launch HoppyGo, a service which has quickly established itself as one of the largest peer-to-peer carsharing platforms in the country. In Slovakia and Hungary, we are going to offer our services in collaboration with the WeShare platform.


What other future mobility trends are you developing?

We have clear criteria at ŠKODA for deciding what ideas make sense for us to pursue when it comes to new mobility. There are two key aspects: the idea must be linked to a viable project plan and it simply has to be something that can be used in the real world. To take an example, we are now focusing on the future of modern, individual micromobility.