Skoda has confirmed at the Beijing motor show that the new MissionL concept will be dubbed Rapid when it goes on sale. For the Chinese market, however, the Rapid name will probably not be used.

First revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September last year, the MissionL previews the crucial new Rapid model that will be key to the Czech firm’s ambitious growth plans when it enters production this year.

The new model will fill the large gap between the Fabia and Octavia in Skoda’s current range. It will be a five-door hatchback-come-saloon, similar in dimensions to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, and is described by Skoda as being of a “compact liftback design”.

The car will be sold in Europe, Russia and China, with a separate four-door version for India on sale by the end of the year. Each market will get its own regionalised version of the car that Skoda says will be one of the main contributors if it is to reach its annual worldwide sales target of 1.5 million units per year by 2018. Last year, Skoda sold a record 762,600 units.

Many of MissionL’s key design features will be taken from the similarly sized VisionD concept from the 2011 Geneva motor show. Autocar understands the concept is around 80 per cent production ready and is based on lengthened VW Polo mechanicals.

Skoda chairman Winfried Vahland says the MissionL shows “exactly the direction our brand is going to take”. Vahland also says the production version of the Rapid will be followed be a new model every six months for up to the next three years.

Elsewhere, Skoda’s expansion plans include launching and locally producing the Yeti in China in 2013, the same year it will launch a “new compact model” for China it has co-developed with Shanghai Volkswagen. Russia will also be producing the Yeti from 2012.

The European version of Skoda's Rapid will reach UK showrooms from late 2012, with a Chinese version - built and sold in China - available from 2013.