Making an SUV is the "next logical step" according to the marque's technical development chief

Making an SUV is the “next logical step” for Skoda, Eckhard Sholz, Skoda’s board member for technical development, told Autocar at the Geneva motor show.

The marque already makes the Skoda Yeti crossover, but it sees room to expand its 4x4 range. “The SUV segment is very interesting,” Sholz said. “It’s one of the segments with the highest volume: you can sell SUVs in Europe, in Russia, in China, everywhere. From the economic side it’s very interesting. And it’s more emotional [than some other segments]. So SUVs are for me the next logical step for Skoda."

Skoda is already committed to launching the production variant of the Mission L mid-size hatchback later this year, which will sit between the Fabia and Octavia.

That will push the third-generation Octavia, due to be launched in 2013, to being bigger than the current model.

But beyond that, an SUV is high on Skoda’s list of priorities. “We are successful with the Yeti. But there is room smaller than the Yeti, and there is also room for bigger than Yeti. So why not?” said Sholz.

The new models form only one part of Skoda's plan to increase its volume to 1.5 million cars per year. Last year Skoda sold 250,000 cars in China and Sholz believes that mainstream carmakers who don't target emerging markets will find it difficult to survive.

“We have two very important things,” said Sholz. “One is the product. Second is the market. That’s the difference between Skoda and some of our competitors. Some of them stay in the European market, and that’s not enough. We go into international markets. That’s a hard job, but it’s the only chance.”

Matt Prior

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