New models to expand Skoda's line-up revealed

Skoda will enlarge its range from today’s five models to seven models within five years — and the line-up will include a five-door coupe.

The new Focus/Astra-sized car has been signed off by senior management and the full-scale styling models are finished. It is due to go on sale in 2012 or 2013, fitting between the Fabia and next-generation Octavia, which will grow slightly in size.

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A Skoda insider told Autocar, “Determination to elevate the brand and our presence in 100 markets globally means we have to widen our product footprint. But as the Roomster and Yeti show, we do not always do the obvious thing.”

The five-door coupe will use the same basic platform as the Volkswagen Golf and will feature the VW Group’s small-capacity normally aspirated and turbocharged petrol engines, plus DSG transmissions. But it will not get the Superb’s Twinhatch boot, for cost reasons.

Karl Neuhold, head of exterior of design for Skoda, said, “There are many options available to our senior management and this could be one of those menu choices. Our Czech Republic research and development unit has received major investment so many things are possible and we do things the Skoda way.”

The second all-new model will be Skoda’s version of the VW Up city car, due in 2011. It will be available as a three and a five-door model, complementing the Fabia, which is only available with five doors.

It will be built at a new factory in Slovakia alongside the VW and Seat derivatives. VW originally planned to make all the Up models at Skoda’s Mlada Boleslav factory, but fluctuations in the value of the Czech currency forced it to choose a Euro-zone country.

Skoda is also working on a budget saloon that will be based on the Octavia platform. It will provide a sister car to the new mid-sized Volkswagen saloon that will be available only in the US.

The budget car is unlikely to be sold in Europe, as it clashes with Skoda’s brand image and could provide unwelcome reminders of the company before Volkswagen resurrected it.

Instead, it will be sold in developing markets, specifically India and China, where it will be built. The car will allow Skoda to take advantage of the predicted growth in car sales outside of the world’s developed nations.

Hugh Hunston

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