Skoda is confident that its deliveries in 2013 will increase even as the demand in Europe declines because of the strong demand for new or updated models, such as a new Octavia compact and the Rapid spaceback compact hatchback. According to CEO Winfried Vahland, the first quarter and likely the first half of this year will be weaker than the previous year due to the decline in Skoda's primary European markets and the shift to the new Octavia.
Last Wednesday, Vahland said that the next quarter seems better than the existing one and that it should continue to grow in order to permit full production capacity. He said that the “tide should continue to turn” when the full volumes of the Octavia and the Spaceback become available.
Last November, the Octavia entered showrooms. The Rapid Spaceback is set to start selling by the fourth quarter after it is introduced this September at the Frankfurt auto show. The company has started to sell a sedan variant of the Rapid. Vahland said that in 2013, eight new or refurbished models will be released. By 2015, Skoda will have its line-up totally revamped.
He said that the division also has plans to add an SUV in the next several years that’s larger than its existing Yeti model. The CEO said that the new models to be produced are the "right recipe" against contracting European demand.
He said that the new SUV is likely to have Russia, China and western Europe as its biggest markets. He also said that Skoda has yet to decide on a production location for the vehicle.
Skoda has plants in the Czech Republic as well as in Russia, India and China, which include plants operated in partnership with parent Volkswagen. Last year, Skoda's operating profit decreased by 4.2% to 712 million euros ($916 million). Its revenue increased by 1.7% to 10.4 billion euros.
The new Škoda Octavia has set new benchmarks for its class when it comes to space offering.
According to Škoda’s Frank Welsch, the new Octavia offers the same amount of space that one can only find in higher classes. There is no other car belonging to the compact segment that offers more interior length, more knee room, and more headroom at the back. More specifically, the Octavia has an interior length of 1,782 mm, a knee room of 73 mm, and a back headroom of 980 mm.
What’s more, the car boasts best-in-class boot volume at 590 liters. Also, other interior dimensions have significantly increased compared to the second-generation Octavia. The front headroom has additional 8 mm, the front elbow width has 39 mm more, and the rear elbow width has additional 26 mm.
Moreover, aside from being functional and more spacious, the new Škoda Octavia also looks good. Škoda’s design team, led by Jozef Kabaň, revised the Octavia from head to toe, making it reflect enthusiasm at first look. A Škoda Octavia has never before appeared as dynamic, timelessly elegant, refined, distinctive, refined, and self-assured on the road as it does now. The bestseller's third generation, Welsch noted, has every line and gap breathing love for detail and precision. It is, he said, an unmistakable face amidst the crowd.
Furthermore, the new Octavia has grown in terms of length and width. Compared to its predecessor, it is now 90 mm longer as well as 45 mm wider. At the same time, its wheelbase has increased by 108 mm, benefiting its interior and its rear seat space.
The car’s front gives off a confident and self-assured vibe, thanks mainly to emphasized horizontal lines as well as a new placement for the Škoda logo. Meanwhile, the side of the new Škoda Octavia is markedly more dynamic compared to that of its predecessor, thanks to its long wheelbase, a shortened front overhang, as well as a C pillar that’s pulled far backwards.
Additionally, the car’s high and sharp tornado line gives it an optical stretch and highlights its coupé-like profile. The car also features a special new characteristic: a “fin,” which is an upswept dynamic window line for the rear doors and which is also a little yet effective design idea that gives it a forceful look and direction.