The Skoda Octavia RS, dubbed by many as a kind of ‘clever person’s practical performance car’, is no longer one of the Australian car market’s best-kept secrets.
That’s because Skoda Australia shared some of its internal sales figures with us today, with the key standout being the fact that the hotted-up petrol and diesel versions of the Octavia were its single top-selling models.
In much the same way as GTI sales make up a larger percentage of overall Volkswagen Golf deliveries in Australia — same story with Mercedes-AMG, Renault Sport, you name it — the range-topping RS sales mix for Skoda Australia relative to total Octavia sales is among the highest anywhere on the globe.
In 2015, Skoda sold 2128 Octavia liftback and hatch models (up 18 per cent) — almost half its brand-wide total. Of these, 47 per cent were the RS models, so about 1050 units all told.
The majority of these were wagons, again belying a wider market shift, and reinforcing Skoda’s positioning here as a left-of-centre, ‘thinking person’s’ brand.
The RS range is priced between $37,590 and $42,490 plus on-road costs depending on drivetrain. The average transaction price for these circa-1050 sold cars was more than $46,000. For comparison, the base Octavia Ambition kicks off at $22,490.
This last fact reinforces Skoda’s positioning in Australia. Whereas it has historically been cast as the Volkswagen Group’s entry brand, the fact that most of the cars it sells are nudging 50 grand must somewhat dispel this idea.
“When I realised that the sweet spot is almost at $50K, that made us rethink…” Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer, discussing the company’s strategy for its new Skoda Superb flagship, launching this week.
The Skoda Octavia RS comes in two body-styles — liftback and wagon — with two engines, the 162kW/350Nm 162TSI turbo-petrol (the same engine as the Golf GTI, and the same platform) and the 135kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, both matched to either six-speed manual or DSG gearboxes, all sending torque to the front wheels.