Good timeŠ at Škoda.
Half-year sales stand at 522,500, so unless the world goes bang before then the
VW Group’s ‘pearl of the east’ is on course to break the one million sales
barrier in 2014.
They’re a canny lot, and they’re good at
managing expectations, but Škoda’s
ambition goes well beyond even that milestone. TG.com can reveal that a
full-size Škoda SUV is a whisker away from board
approval, and could be on sale by the end of 2016. High-level sources have
confirmed that the car, which is pegged as a rival for the Hyundai Santa Fe and
Land Rover’s imminent Discovery Sport, is pretty much done.
Expect the traditional Škoda robustness and genuine off-road capability, as well as the choice of five or seven seats. Existing VW Group engines, including an entry-level 1.4-litre turbo, will be used, along with another remix of the clever MQB components matrix.
If it gets the green light, the SUV will cap a busy product reboot for Škoda. The all-new Fabia will be revealed at the Paris motor show in October, sadly without the entertaining but slow-selling RS version. The new car is expected to be wider and lower than the outgoing model, and will feature the trademark chiselled surfacing and crisp detailing of design director Jozef Kaban. Amongst other things, he’s the man with the Bugatti Veyron on his CV. A Fabia estate will follow, with class-leading luggage capacity. All Fabias have a softer, more approachable interior.
Next year’s new Superb, meanwhile, should echo the Vision C concept pictured above, with an even longer wheelbase than the current model, a more upscale appearance, but no V6 petrol or diesel option. A 2.0-litre turbo four is as good as it’s going to get.
Škoda is targetting 1.5 million sales by 2018, and plans to free up its image so that it can add a smidgeon of emotion to its value for money proposition. Sources confirm that the company is investigating hybrids, but say that the current petrol and diesel powertrains are likely to remain the more affordable option for its customers for the forseeable future. Škoda drivers aren’t early adopters, it seems. Šhame.