ŠKODA Motorsport’s extensive customer programme includes support from experienced engineers, sharing the recommended settings and precision servicing of the car’s individual components. It begins before the car is even purchased. “With the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, the drivers and teams aren’t just buying a car. They get the whole package of services, and they become a part of the family,” the sales coordinator at ŠKODA Motorsport, Radek Těšínský explains. “Each FABIA Rally2 evo already has its customer from the very beginning and it is built according to their individual demands,” adds Jakub Jareš, coordinator of customer car builds.
What are the first steps after a potential customer contacts you?
First, we always try to get as much information about the customer and how they plan to use the car as possible, so we can prepare the starting pack of spare parts and services that fits the customer’s plans. The most important information includes whether the car is meant to be rented or used by just one driver, the anticipated schedule of rallies the car will attend, the time window for delivery, the projected mileage, the customer’s budget and so on. Based on our experiences, we are then able to recommend a list of spare parts and maybe even the car’s setup.
Do experienced teams appreciate this as well?
All the customers are grateful for recommendations as to what they should buy, concerning the setup and use of the individual car. Using our experience saves them time and money, rather than having to acquire their own through hard work. Even more importantly, they avoid the risk of not finishing a rally they invested tens of thousands of euros in because they’re missing a part worth a few euros.
Do you only sell the cars yourselves?
Yes, we don’t have any dealers. We supply all the cars and spare parts straight to our customers. It’s because we want to have total control over the whole process and build a personal relationship with every team and driver.
How do you compete for customers in the world of motorsport? Do special offers and discounts exist there?
What really decides the choice of rally car takes place on the rally stages. When the customer sees ŠKODA cars at the top of the rally results, they’re interested in one of those cars. The prices of cars in the Rally2 group are comparable, no matter if it’s Citroën, Ford or ŠKODA. Which of these brands you trust is decided by results and who successfully races the brand’s cars. In the end, price is not the main decision factor for our customers.
“We deliver each car ready to enter a rally.”
So the rally car has to be its own advertisement.
The competition really starts at the moment we begin development. We are trying to build a car that’s the fastest, the most reliable, the best overall. Now that’s bearing fruit, as the customers see that the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo is rugged, cheap to run and fast. There’s no use in putting it on billboards.
How long does a customer wait for their new car?
The waiting period was longest after the launch of the FABIA Rally2 evo – the demand was huge, and customers could wait for anything up to a year. Now, it’s more like a couple of months, sometimes even less. We are trying to accommodate the needs of our customers as much as we can.
And how long does it take to build one?
Each FABIA Rally2 evo has to have a customer from the very beginning, so the build starts when the deposit is paid. First, it must be clear whether the customer wants his car in tarmac or gravel specification. However, we have the painted bodies ready with their rollcages fitted, so we are able to build the car very quickly after we receive the deposit. Then, it all depends on the exact demands of the customer, who can, for example, specify the interior equipment of the car. The process doesn’t end when the car is finished. It needs to be properly tested, for which we use the “rollout” or driving test. Its goal is to make sure that everything works right and that the car is ready to be delivered to the customer.
Is it necessary to break-in the car after delivery?
No, it isn’t. We deliver the car ready to enter a rally. Even before assembly, all the parts go through stringent quality control, without which they would not be allowed to be fitted. We also run special test procedures for certain assemblies, like the gearbox, engine, dampers, axles and fuel tank. The final rollout then confirms the previous tests and also tests the car as a whole. If any defect appears, it is repaired - either right there on the test track, or in our workshop, and then the whole test is repeated.
“When our customers finish well, we are excited for them and always congratulate them right away! And if they’re not doing so well, we immediately start investigating the reason and asking how we can help.”
What can be changed in a car’s configuration?
There’s quite a lot. The most important is, of course, the choice between the tarmac and gravel setting. Each of them has precisely set parameters, including the wheel alignment. The customers also choose the seats and seatbelts, whether they want their car on magnesium or aluminium wheels, whether they want one or two spare wheels, intercom, car jack, fuel maps and so on.
Do your customers appreciate the services they receive with the car?
It’s one of the main reasons they come back to us. We’re not only selling a great car, but also a whole set of complex services around it. We take pride in our personal approach, it’s more than just business for us. When our customers finish well, we are excited for them and always congratulate them right away! And if they’re not doing so well, we immediately start investigating the reason and asking how we can help. ŠKODA Motorsport is actively interested in each customer team and crew, and provides support for them all.
Are sales helped by the long-term great results of the ŠKODA Motorsport factory crews?
The customers know that to win as a factory team, we have to test long and hard. It’s the best way to really get to know the car’s abilities and get the necessary feedback. ŠKODA Motorsport tests its cars in the harshest environments and takes part in WRC rallies, together with pro drivers. The goal is clear, to get the maximum out of the car. That’s why we are able to keep improving the car, which will, sooner or later, translate into the customer programme. The customer teams benefit from this, as we are bringing them constant improvements in terms of performance and reliability which allow them to stay ahead of the competitors as well.