Production version of Skoda MissionL Concept will be named Rapide

Article by Christian A., on April 27, 2012

Skoda’s new MissionL Concept, which was launched at last September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, will take on the name Rapid when it starts selling in all markets except in China. This news was confirmed by the automaker at the Beijing Auto Show. The MissionL gives us a preview of the new Rapid model that will be crucial to Skoda’s plans when it starts production later this year.

This new model will be positioned on the gap between the Fabia and Octavia in the existing Skoda range. This five-door hatchback-come-saloon -- “compact liftback design” -- has dimensions comparable with those of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. This car is available in Europe, Russia and China.

By the end of 2012, Skoda will offer a separate four-door version for India. Skoda will have a regionalized version of the car for each market. Skoda says that this car will be a major contributor to its goal to attain annual worldwide sales of 1.5 million units by 2018. In 2011, Skoda had record-breaking sales of 762,600 units. Most of MissionL’s key design features will come from the VisionD concept from the 2011 Geneva motor show that has a similar size.

Autocar said that this concept is about 80% ready for production and uses the lengthened VW Polo mechanicals as its basis. According to Skoda chairman Winfried Vahland, the MissionL portrays the exact direction that the brand will take.

Vahland said that the Rapid’s production version will be followed be a new model every six months for up to the next three years. Under Skoda’s expansion plans, the Yeti will be launched and then locally produced in China in 2013. This would also be the year that Skoda will launch a “new compact model” for China that has been co-developed with Shanghai Volkswagen. The Yeti will also be produced together with Russia starting in 2012.

Škoda’s latest offering, the Rapid, will be the first series car from the brand to showcase its revised design language. According to Eckhard Scholz, board member responsible for technical development, take one look at the Rapid and it is clear this model makes a strong statement in that it is clear, emotional, fresh, and precise. No wonder then that the Rapid is being marketed by Škoda for families.

Board member for sales and marketing at Škoda Jürgen Stackmann shares that there is no doubt families will appreciate the Rapid as it has the familiar quality the brand is known for while being available at an affordable price. However, Škoda is not limiting itself to families as it also wants to target customers who have experienced success in both their private and professional lives.

This is why the Rapid was also developed to be a car that would be able to meet any changes in the needs of the customer. Stackmann continues by saying that while customers put a high premium on mobility, not many of them would have the resources to spend on one or if they do, they would be unwilling to spend too much. This is why the Rapid, he added, is offering the best value when it comes to money and thus is able to meet this particular demand.

A single glance at the Rapid and the attractiveness of the overall look is evident. This is seen in how sharp the lines have been drawn, combined with the cleanly modeled surfaces and the perfect proportions. It uses a new design language and while the front section continues to have the design elements standard in Škoda models, these have reinterpreted in the Rapid. Its grille for example has those vertical slats and is bordered by a frame in chrome.

The headlight assembly has been shaped to be like that of a cloverleaf. At the bonnet’s front edge, the new logo of the brand stands out in a bold manner. The combination of a profile similar to a coupe and a long wheelbase meant that the side of the body would be able to show pure emotion. Helping with this is the use of the sharp and precise lines which result in getting that needed separation of shadow and light.

For the rear section, the tailgate is made larger and was not just placed to be an attractive design element but to be functional as well. The taillights have been uniquely shaped in the same manner as that of the C shape the brand is known for. The Rapid is immediately recognizable even as it uses the new brand logo.

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