We all know that Skoda is on of the Tour de France main sponsor since 2004. The partnership has been extended to many teams in 2005 and to the Giro, UCI and other races in the last 2 years.
This position of high class European cycling race vehicles sponsor was a way to make the mind change in Europe (Skoda as been for a long time considered as bad quality Communist car maker).
I remember in 1993 in Slovakia people always saying “Skoda, dommage !”.
A couple of years ago Skoda changed and became “Simply clever”.
Right now Skoda is also opening to international cycling sponsoring and best example is that the 2008 Tour Down Under will drive Skoda and not Mitsubishi any more.
Franca Castelletti from Skoda Australia has been very kind to answer some question for Cyclingmodel.
How long has Skoda been in Australia ?
Skoda Australia as a division of Volkswagen Group Australia Pty Ltd, has been launched in Australia at the Australian International Motor show in Sydney in October 2007.
How much are the Skoda sales in Australia? Which are the fast movers ?
With regards to vehicles sales, Skoda plans to sell 2,500 vehicles in Australia in 2008.
Currently we sell the Skoda Octavia Sedan, Combi, RS and the Roomster.
Will you make any promotion of the New Skoda Superb that will officially be presented in March ?
No we do not sell Superb at the moment and won’t make any promotion for the next one.
It is the first year Skoda is sponsoring the Tour Down Under. When was it decided? Is it a South-Australia local agreement, a National one or an international one coming from Czech headquarters?
As part of this launch, an iconic Australian event was sought to further Skoda association with cycling in the local Australian market, and as such, Skoda became the premier sponsor and the Official Car Partner of the Tour Down Under. This decision was made prior to the Tour Down Under being awarded pro-status and was valued by Skoda as a national Australian event that could assist in launching the Skoda brand domestically.
Mr Wiesner, Head of Skoda Australia, said Skoda’s love affair with cycling began in 1895 with the production of bicycles.
Whilst over time we made the transition to cars (since 1905), the romance of cycling has remained strong and continued.
Do Skoda sponsor a specific classification? Any domestic team?
Not this year. It is our first year not only on the TDU but also in Australia. We need to learn and to have more time to be involved with team or as a leading sponsor.
What are your targets on the Tour Down Under ?
We are looking forward to being part of the Tour Down Under. Our association should help strengthen the events standing internationally and in turn showcase our cars to an Australian audience.
In its first year of sponsorship, Skoda’s association with the Tour Down Under primarily focuses on supplying vehicles for the event assisting in operations to ensure that all teams and commissaries are accordingly provisioned.
At this stage, the role that TDU will play is more of a brand and model awareness strategy for Skoda in Australia. Therefore placing Skoda in the consideration set and generating enquiries for our dealerships is the aim at this point in time. As we move forward we certainly do hope that the exposure and association with TDU will lead to sales.
How many cars will be supplied for the race ?
For race organizers & teams?
Octavia Station Wagons will feature as the team vehicles, whilst a mix of Octavia sedans and Roomster Hatch/Wagons will serve media, judges and respective commissaries.
In addition to the provision of vehicles to the Tour Down Under, Skoda Australia is supporting the community via their sponsorship of the Skoda Breakaway Series a group of events linked to the Tour Down Under which call for participation from non-professional cyclists and children. In line with Skoda lifestyle brand positioning, supporting the community events is an important component of the overall sponsorship.
Skoda sponsorship will be activated on ground from the 20th to 27th January with a range of activities designed to add value to the spectator experience.
Do you have vehicles in the parade ?
What goodies will you distribute ?
There aren’t any official Skoda vehicle sin the parade as such. There is a Roomster in the parade that has been organized by local paper The Adelaïde Advertiser.
Skoda sun visors will be distributed along with supporter flags from Skoda Marquees at the finish line of each stage, ensuring that all attending have the opportunity to get behind the competing teams in the Tour Down Under just as Skoda has.