Skoda is battling to secure the upcoming Kodiaq RS for Australia with local arid conditions the biggest obstacle to supply of the more powerful SUV.
Under the Volkswagen Group’s leadership, Australia is defined as a ‘hot climate’ region, with Skoda forced to follow corporate guidelines put in place to ensure reliability and performance aren’t compromised as a result of extreme conditions. The same restriction has seen Australian versions of the Volkswagen Golf R hot hatch detuned compared to European specifications.
Work is already well underway on a performance-oriented version of the Kodiaq, which would be Skoda’s first sporty SUV, using a version of the Volkswagen Group’s twin-turbo diesel 2.0-litre engine tipped to power the Kodiaq RS, rated at 176kW of power and 500Nm of torque.
Hot climate classification means the cooling systems of all vehicles must be upgraded to cope compared to European specifications which are designed to handle more temperate climates. In the case of the Kodiaq RS, the requirements for a larger cooling circuit may not be able to be met
"The RS version we have obviously expressed incredibly strong interest for that for obvious reasons. Very, very strong interest," Skoda Australia Director, Michael Irmer said. "If the engine will become available for Australia we will 100 per cent take it, but at the moment that is under evaluation by the engineers because we are classified as a hot country... So it has higher cooling requirements."
But Irmer and Petr Solc, Skoda's General Manager Sales International, aren’t yet prepared to take ‘no’ for an answer, encouraging the engineers to find a suitable solution. Skoda has defined Australia as a key market for the regular Koqiaq, resulting in the local launch being moved forward by six weeks, so Solc is confident of a similar priority being given to the more powerful RS version.
"We fight for it," Solc said. "We find it very important. As we managed to pull forward the Kodiaq this is also our intention. But, of course, there are certain investments behind that and we fight for it. Nothing's decided."
Irmer has vowed not to give up without a fight.
"Will work on it," Irmer said. "I can't sleep until I get an answer on this."
Although the future of the Kodiaq RS is still pending, Irmer has confirmed that once Skoda can lift currently imposed supply constraints, regular 132TSI and coming 140TDI variants of the Kodiaq will be joined by the Sportline variant (top of page and below), which adds sportier styling touches without any performance boost.
"When is the discussion at the moment because managing the supply situation in some markets is incredibly difficult," he said.
While the Kodiaq Sportline has been given the go-ahead, the off-road styled Kodiaq Scout seems less likely to be introduced locally.
"I'm looking at it in the market and at this stage I would say it's not certain because we built all the essentials into the car as is, so I think the Sportline is a point of difference for us," Irmer said.
MORE: Skoda News and Reviews