VW picks Craft as Skoda chief

Skoda has appointed Volkswagen marketer Chris Craft as managing director. He replaces Rob Tracey, who had been Skoda’s managing director since 1999. Tracey remains within the Volkswagen Group as managing director of automotive IT company gedas United Kingdom.

Craft moves over from Volkswagen Group UK, where he was head of group services, overseeing its portfolio of brands – which include Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat. Before that, he was marketing director for the Volkswagen brand between 1998 and 2001.

In May, Skoda launched a &£3m television brand campaign, as it battles to build up consumer perceptions of the brand, the butt of many jokes before its purchase by Volkswagen. The ads replace the “It’s a Skoda. Honest.” strapline with “Skoda. It might earn you more respect than you think”. The campaign was created by Fallon, with media buying and planning through MediaCom. It is the brand’s first new campaign since the appointment of Skoda head of marketing Mary Newcombe in May 2002.

In September, Skoda will launch the Fabia vRS, a sports version of its small hatchback. It also sells the Octavia five-door family saloon and the Superb executive four-door saloon.

Last week, parent company Volkswagen AG warned investors to prepare for significantly lower profits after a decrease in sales caused by the strength of the euro.