Skoda is planning to reinvent its next-generation Rapid hatchback to make it a more credible contender to rival the ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf.
The new model, which arrives early next year, will be overhauled with an entirely different nomenclature as Skoda attempts to reposition the Rapid in the competitive hatchback segment, according to Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey.
He said: “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.”
Favey added that the new car is not a successor to the current model. Along with a new name, there will be “completely new technology, completely new styling”.
He said that the new Rapid should double in sales in its first full year – 2020 – compared with the current car. In Europe, the Rapid sold 66,512 units in 2017.
To create more distance between the Rapid and the Octavia, which straddle either side of the hatchback segment, the Rapid fastback will not be replaced, with only the Rapid Spaceback, as it is currently known, remaining.
Explaining the differentiation between the Rapid and Octavia, Favey said: “The new Rapid will not be available as an estate, while the Octavia Estate makes up a lot of the Octavia’s sales. The Rapid is clearly a Golf rival in design, while the Octavia is a three-box hatch.