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(July 26, 2001) DUESSELDORF -- Volkswagen-owned Czech automaker Skoda has awarded the advertising launch business for its up-market Montreux marque to Leagas Delaney, Hamburg. No budget was disclosed.

The decision followed a final pitch against Frankfurt-based Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide. Also pitching were Dorland, Berlin; Munich-based Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide-owned Heye & Partner; Boening & Haube, Hamburg; and Prague-based Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, the agency that handles all other Skoda vehicles.

Although the appointment won't officially be announced till August, Leagas Delaney is already working on a campaign slated to run during the IAA Frankfurt fair in September, when the Montreux will be officially launched, possibly under another name.

Some carmakers are moving away from selling outdated models in emerging markets and introducing upmarket vehicles. The Montreux will be the first Skoda in 60 years to be equipped with engines bigger than four cylinders.

Because Leagas & Delaney has only offices in the U.K., France, Spain and Italy, Grey Worldwide's network will be used for adapting the campaign in all other markets. Leagas Delaney however, is planning to set up an office in Prague to service its new auto client.

In the first quarter of April, Skoda accounted for 56% of new car sales in the Czech Republic, according to the Czech Republic Statistical Office. -- Dagmar Mussey

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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