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by James Ward

The Skoda mantra of being ‘simply clever’ has progressed from the cars themselves to the complete ownership cycle, with the launch of the Skoda Care package in Australia.

The Skoda Care product allows buyers to bundle in their three- or five-year service costs at the time of purchase, meaning that aside from petrol and key consumables (tyres etc), there are no further ‘out of pocket’ running costs for the ownership period.

This is also supported by a guaranteed future-buy-back price on the car, where the minimum future residual is declared and agreed upon before taking delivery of the car.

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Business or ABN buyers (or private buyers for that matter) can then effectively plan for their vehicle running costs over the three or five year term, without worrying about surprise service or depreciation payments.

But this is just the first step.

In Europe, Skoda has unveiled Skoda Connect, a back-to-base telemetry and communication system that, along with providing customer convenience services, allows the cars to communicate to the dealer if there is a problem. The issue can be diagnosed, parts ordered and the service planned with minimal downtime, cost or inconvenience to the customer.

The goal state of this system is the complete personalisation of service schedules, where a car is only called in for a checkup when it needs it, based upon mileage and driving style.

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While Australia won’t see this system for some time, Skoda Australia Planning and Product Manager, Kieran Merrigan, said that it is definitely being evaluated for our market.

“Infotainment services will come first, Google Maps, live-traffic and the like, with telemetry coming a bit further down the line.”

Merrigan said that Skoda Australia wanted to see the first wave of connected technology in place in 2017, with no firm date set on the full suite, but an expectation to have the services available by 2019.

Skoda isn’t the only manufacturer to delay back-to-base type communication services in Australia, Merrigan citing the complexity of our telecommunications bureaucracy as one of the key barriers to advancement in this area.

MORE: Skoda news and reviews




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