Skoda’s forthcoming seven-seat SUV is about two years away from local showrooms, according to the Czech brand’s Australian boss, who is determined to launch it here “as soon as we possibly can”.
Following confirmation from Skoda’s global chairman, Winfried Vahland, at last month’s Geneva motor show that the new SUV was headed our way, Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer recently revealed that it would reach our shores only “a couple of months” after its launches in Europe.
“It is coming,” Irmer started. “What Mr Vahland said at the Geneva motor show is it is coming for sure, and we know it’s going to be early 2017.
“Because of homologation and shipment we will always be a few months behind [Europe] but not much. We are bringing the car in as soon as we possibly can.”
The as-yet-unnamed model will fill a gaping hole in Skoda’s (and the wider Volkswagen Group’s) line-up, giving it a contender in Australia’s hugely popular large SUV segment, which makes up almost 12 per cent of all vehicles sold across the country.
Irmer wouldn’t be drawn on sales predictions for the new model, but said the brand is optimistic about its prospects in SUV-loving Australia.
“I would like to stay clear of making volume expectations but we have good confidence with the model, and you can read between the lines: good confidence means we think it’s going to be doing good.”
The new model will become the Czech manufacturer’s second SUV, joining the compact Yeti.
It will be based on similar VW Group MQB underpinnings to the new Superb, and will also share the large passenger model’s petrol, diesel, and expected plug-in hybrid drivetrains.
As with many of its rivals, Skoda’s seven-seat SUV is expected to be available in both front- and all-wheel-drive layouts priced between $40,000 and $65,000.
CarAdvice’s spy photographers last month snapped proof that Skoda is already hard at work on the new model, capturing the company’s engineers behind the wheel of a development mule wearing panels borrowed from the Yeti.
Rendering by Milos Dvorak.