Scala is a Latin word that means ‘ladder’, and company boss Bernhard Maier said that it represents Skoda’s next step forward in the compact segment. The Scala will also be the first Skoda to feature the brand’s name instead of its logo on the rear boot lid.
Maier said the Scala is “a completely new development that sets standards in terms of technology, safety and design in this class”.
The Scala is intended to be a more direct competitor than the Rapid to the big players in the volume hatchback segment, such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey said to Autocar earlier this year: “How should I put this? Our presence [in this segment] is very humble. With the current Rapid Spaceback, we didn’t manage to come through to convince people that we are a credible competitor in this segment.”
He added that the Scala would have completely fresh styling and technology.
A new sketch, released by Skoda recently, hinted at the styling of the Scala, which follows on from the Vision RS concept shown at the Paris motor show.
Skoda will drop the slow-selling liftback version and concentrate on the Spaceback hatch for the Rapid replacement.
The five-door Scala will be the first Skoda car to use the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 platform, which is already used on models such as the Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen T-Roc.
The next Fabia, due in 2020, and Skoda's upcoming baby SUV, previewed by the Vision X concept, are also due to use this architecture.
Skoda said the platform will allow the new hatchback to have “compact exterior dimensions and generous interior space”. It added that the car would use “numerous innovative assistance systems in that segment”.
The model will use a range of petrol and diesel engines, including the Volkswagen Group’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol with power from 84bhp to 109bhp, as well as a 1.5-litre petrol unit with up to 148bhp. No hybrid or electric versions are planned and are understood to be too expensive to implement in a car of this size and price.
The Rapid is Skoda’s second-biggest-selling car worldwide after the Octavia. In 2017, it sold 211,000 units. Favey predicts that sales will double for the new model.
Skoda Rapid review