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Exclusive: Petr Janeba to succeed Petr Solc as Skoda India’s new brand director 

Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, the Indian subsidiary of Europe’s largest car maker VW Group, has announced an appointment of Petr Janeba as the new brand director for the Skoda brand.

Petr Janeba will take charge from Petr Solc who will complete a 16-month stint at the company in December having taken charge in September 2022.

Petr Janeba, currently the Head of International Sales Management at Škoda Auto, will take over the role as Brand Director of the Škoda Division at Škoda Auto Volkswagen India as of January 1, 2024. Šolc will end his position on December 31, 2023 and go on to assume a global role, details of which have not been hared by the company.

 Skoda Auto Volkswagen India confirmed the development and said, “Petr Šolc, Brand Director of the Škoda Division at Škoda Auto Volkswagen India, will end his position on December 31, 2023. We would like to thank him for his work and efforts and wish him all the success. The VW Group led by Škoda Auto in India is committed to the Indian market and we will move ahead with our growth strategy in India.

Solc had a tough task of sustaining the growth momentum for Skoda brand – which had posted its highest ever sales in calendar year 2022 at over 53,000 units – making India the third biggest market for the global operation after the home base and Germany. So far this calendar year Skoda Auto has posted sales of about 40000 units – with festive season out of the way, it will be a tough ask for the brand to end on a positive note.

During his short stint of less than 18 months, Solc had a tough task of sustaining the growth momentum in the face of slowing growth. Apart from consolidating its performance, during the year, the company took a critical call on building the brand around safety by releasing the GNCAP rating for its SUVs and sedan – which coined their vehicles as the safest in the Indian market.

 While the company did expand its network footprint during the year, the growth has been hard to come by due to intense activity in the fast growing SUV space and limited penchant of people choosing sedans. The unavailability of models at the top end – i.e. Superb and Octavia, did have an impact on the brand imagery, even as it built a decent equity in the mainstream market.

 Solc is understood to have offered critical inputs on the electrification roadmap and on the small SUV for India, which are going to be critical next strategic steps for the brand in India, which his successor Janeba will have to build on. 

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