Page 3: Weaknesses
A SWOT analysis identifies areas of weakness inside the business. Skoda UK's analysis showed that in order to grow it needed to address key questions about the brand position. Skoda has only 1.7% market share. This made it a very small player in the market for cars. The main issue it needed to address was: how did Skoda fit into this highly competitive, fragmented market?
Perceptions of the brand
This weakness was partly due to out-dated perceptions of the brand. These related to Skoda's eastern European origins. In the past the cars had an image of poor vehicle quality, design, assembly and materials. Crucially, this poor perception also affected Skoda owners. For many people, car ownership is all about image. If you are a Skoda driver, what do other people think?
From 1999 onwards, under Volkswagen AG ownership, Skoda changed this negative image. Skoda cars were no longer seen as low-budget or low quality. However, a brand 'health check' in 2006 showed that Skoda still had a weak and neutral image in the mid-market range it occupies, compared to other players in this area, for example, Ford, Peugeot and Renault. This meant that, whilst the brand no longer had a poor image, it did not have a strong appeal either.
Change of direction
This understanding showed Skoda in which direction it needed to go. It needed to stop being defensive in promotional campaigns. The company had sought to correct old perceptions and demonstrate what Skoda cars were not. It realised it was now time to say what the brand does stand for.
The marketing message for the change was simple: Skoda owners were known to be happy and contented with their cars. The car-buying public and the car industry as a whole needed convincing that Skoda cars were great to own and drive.