By Bernd Debusmann Jr
The firm was founded and produced bicycles in the 1890s
Czech automobile manufacturer Škoda increasingly sees cycling events as a way to improve brand awareness in the Middle East, according to Christian Philipp, the company’s head of global experience marketing.
The firm is the official race automobile partner of the upcoming Spinney’s Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge, which is due to place on November 28 and 29. It is also among the main partners and vehicle sponsors of the Tour de France.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Philipp said that Škoda “sees potential” in the growing popularity of cycling in the UAE.
“It’s part of an initiative from our local team in Dubai, which has an interest in supporting the community in terms of cycling. We’re not talking about a sport like football or Formula 1, but the community is growing,” he said. “After all, not many people can do Formula 1 on their own.”
Skoda, which was founded in the late 1890s, began by producing bicycles – a legacy that Philipp said was very important to the company.
“We call ourselves ‘born on bikes’. There’s a very clear heritage and an authenticity to us being a part of cycling events,” he added. “There is an impact.”
The company’s support of cycling events in the UAE and further afield, he said, are primarily aimed at enhancing brand awareness, particularly in region’s such as the Middle East in which Skoda vehicles are relatively uncommon.
“It’s about exposure, and showing our connection to cycling in general, at the highest level. We see ourselves as connected to all those who want to be a part of the sport,” he said. “At the moment, we don’t have the biggest numbers in this areas. It’s not our home, but we have seen the potential.”
“We are working on how to connect our business ambitions with existing partnerships [in the UAE],” Philipp added.