SKODA is to open five new dealerships and run a new promotional campaign as it seeks to boost its position in Ireland.
The five new dealerships include Boland's in Carlow; Sheehy Motor Group in Naas, Co Kildare; Frank Hogan Motors in Limerick; Western Motors in Drogheda, Co Louth; and J Donohue Motors in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.
In addition to the dealership expansion, Skoda has launched a new tie-in with Applegreen service stations.
In conjunction with Applegreen, the manufacturer has launched what it calls a "unique" fuel card offer for Irish motorists, "guaranteeing them a set price for fuel in 2013".
Anyone who orders a new Skoda before November 17 will receive a fuel card capping the price of fuel at 99c a litre for the year ahead.
Skoda Ireland brand director Zac Hollis said he was "delighted" to have opened the new dealers.
"We have gained five excellent and well established business partners who will work with us to achieve our goal of driving Skoda to 8pc market share in Ireland by 2016.
"Each of the new appointees has vast experience gained over many years in the industry and with us they now have a brand to grow their business even further, backed by our expanding product range and, crucially, access to vehicle funding through Skoda Finance".
As for the Applegreen deal, he said the scheme was "our way of helping Irish motorists with the ever increasing burden of fuel costs".
The new dealerships bring Skoda's nationwide footprint to 25 dealerships and coincide with the launch of the manufacturer's new "Rapid" saloon.
Headquartered in Dublin, Skoda Ireland employs 200 staff and increased its market share in Ireland by 1.1pc to 6.2pc during 2012.
Fierce competition for IAPI awards
The Institute of Advertising Practitioners (IAPI) AdFx awards take place next Thursday, with entries for the advertising awards said to be stronger than ever across all categories.
According to the organisers, this year the competition is "as fierce as ever, featuring some of Ireland's most effective home-grown advertising campaigns that ran from June 2010 to March 2012"
The shortlisted agencies, all based in Ireland, will be judged on a number of categories to decide "the best and most creative brains" in the industry.
Amongst the campaigns shortlisted are the HSE "Quit" campaign that encourages smokers to quit by highlighting the fact that 1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease.
Also making the shortlist is the Failte Ireland "The Fun Starts Here" campaign, which aims to encourage people to holiday in Ireland; and the quirky Cadbury "It's A Matter of Taste" promotion that aims to tempt chocolate lovers by highlighting the rich taste and unique heritage that makes Cadbury Dairy Milk Ireland's favourite chocolate. A full shortlist is available on the IAPI AdFx website www.adfx.ie.
According to IAPI chief executive Tania Banotti, the standard of entries this year is "higher than ever".
"Advertising works and the fact that the campaigns shortlisted have clearly resonated with the public is reflective of this.
"Advertising has an important part to play both in Irish business and changing consumer behaviour. All of our shortlisted campaigns are produced by agencies based in Ireland. This is proof that Irish work, really works," she adds.
Conference to look at brand strategies
THE 33rd National Marketing Conference is less than a week away, and will take place on Wednesday with the theme of "Brand Ireland". Organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, attendees at the conference will hear from a line-up of speakers with expertise in global branding and strategy. Speakers include Google's head of marketing Lorraine Twohill and Guinness global brand director for Diageo Oliver Loomes. Full details and ticket information can be found at www.mii.ie/conference.