The stars are lining up for Skoda Australia this year, with the announcement in January of a new local boss and brand-new models on the way.
New Australian Director Michael Irmer will join the local team on March 1, replacing Matthew Wiesner who vacated the role at the end of 2012.
Irmer will leave his current position with Skoda in Germany as Product and Price Planning Manager for China and ASEAN markets to take the helm here.
The debut of the new Rapid small car will occur mid-year. Skoda’s Roxane Persehais has confirmed with TMR that the model will launch with a choice of petrol 1.2 litre 77TSI or 1.4 litre 90TSI engines.
Both manual and DSG auto options will be available from launch.
“Our research suggests that the Rapid will appeal to first time buyers, SINKs, DINKs, and downsizers,” Ms Persehais said. (That's 'Single Income No Kids' and 'Dual Income No Kids' - Ed.)
The all-new replacement for the Octavia mid-sizer will follow in the fourth quarter of this year, launching with the five-door liftback sedan bodystyle initially.
A wagon will follow later, and could coincide with the local arrival of the RS performance flagship to complete the Skoda model lineup.
“In 2011, the Octavia represented over 50 percent of our total volume. The opportunity presented by the new Octavia range is one that we anticipate highly,” Ms Persehais said.
Stopping short of a prediction for overall sales growth in 2013, Ms Persehais added that the sharply-styled Rapid and Octavia will provide some rejuvenation for the Czech brand locally.
Skoda’s total Australian sales result was 3502 units in 2012 (just one unit up on 2011), compared with industry-wide growth of 10.3 percent for the year.
Declining sales of the Octavia have been balanced by growth in sales of the Yeti small SUV. The brand's performance is also expected to be strengthened with the addition of a DSG auto option to the Fabia light car, and wagon and RS variants.
Internationally, the Czech brand has promised six new models for 2013, which will include the Rapid and Octavia sedan and wagon, with the Octavia RS variants and a facelifted Superb expected to fill out the remaining three models.
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