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by Tim Beissmann

Production of the Skoda Octavia RS has been doubled to meet unexpectedly high demand for the performance model and to help ease local lead times that have blown out to nine months.

Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer confirmed Octavia RS production at the car’s Mlada Boleslav plant in the Czech Republic has been boosted from 350 to 700 vehicles per week to attempt to satisfy global hunger for the sporty mid-sized sedan and wagon models.

“We doubled production from what we initially planned and we’ll see if this is now enough,” Irmer said.

“We have to be careful not to oversupply the market to keep a nice business, but we stepped it up, and if needed we will step it up further.”

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The RS variants of the third-generation Octavia range have experienced unprecedented popularity in Australia, where they regularly make up 40 per cent of all Octavias sold for the month, and at times have accounted for 60 per cent of the model’s sales split.

As with many fellow car makers, Skoda Australia sells one of the highest percentages of its sporty RS models in the world, and boasts the highest mix of the top three variants of Octavia (RS, Elegance and Scout), averaging 70 per cent of total sales.

Irmer admitted excessive lead times had cost Skoda Australia some Octavia RS sales, and said the push for increased production should gradually bring customer wait times back to acceptable levels.

“It’s got a strong following and they are very sought after,” he said.

“The wait is not unique to Australia, there’s also a wait in other European markets, in the UK and so on. They just have the benefit of shorter shipment times than we do.”

The Skoda Octavia has made a strong start to 2015, with sales more than doubling to 311 (up 130 per cent) across January and February. It’s set to get another boost from today with the arrival of the Octavia Scout 4×4.




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