Skoda's fast car strategy is under review, as new boss Bernhard Maier seeks to establish how far he can stretch the brand’s appeal and whether he can make top-end vRS models sufficiently profitable to justify the development costs.
At present, the Octavia vRS is the only top-end fast model in Skoda’s line-up. Instead, Skoda has focused on developing its Monte Carlo, Laurent & Klement and Sportsline styling packs, which have proved both profitable and popular with buyers.
“Theoretically, there are no barriers to any kinds of derivatives, but it is a question of demand,” said Maier. “We have had a wonderful experience with trim upgrades, so I expect to do them again.”
Asked about the recently launched Kodiaq, he added: “I can say now that it will have many emotional directions and we will leverage it in every way possible so as to leave as few people as possible out.”
Although more powerful Kodiaq models than the current 187bhp four-cylinder diesel are expected, there’s no clear indication of whether a vRS derivative will be made. Similarly, despite a Skoda Superb vRS model being mooted — with speculation that it and a Kodiaq vRS could be powered by the 296bhp powertrain from the Volkswagen Golf R — there is no certainty that this will happen.
Insiders suggest the Superb and Kodiaq remain the most likely models to get vRS variants, because their size means buyers are more willing to pay a premium. However, other reports suggest that Maier is eager to focus R&D money on hybrid and electric powertrain solutions rather than projects that add little sales volume or profit.