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by Tim Beissmann

The full range of 2012 Skoda vehicles will come equipped with Bluetooth phone connectivity, audio streaming and phone book display as standard.

Bluetooth-equipped Skoda cars started arriving in Australia in August, and all new Skoda vehicles sold from now will come standard with the new tech.

Skoda Octavia and Superb models will benefit, as well as all variants of the new Fabia light car (arriving this month) and Yeti compact crossover (arriving in October).

Head of Skoda Australia, Matthew Wiesner, said Bluetooth would be added at no extra cost.

“Our Skoda range of vehicles already comes standard with a comprehensive safety package and clever Skoda features. Now, with the addition of Bluetooth phone connectivity, our Skoda range offers an affordable and competitive convenience package as well.”

The announcement follows last week’s confirmation from sister company Volkswagen that most 2012 Volkswagen Golf models would get Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

It is no secret that, despite their premium image, the European manufacturers have trailed other carmakers – especially the South Koreans – in implementing features like Bluetooth.

Full Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming became standard across the Hyundai Getz range in October 2008, despite the vehicle’s $13,990 starting price.

Skoda has been one of the few manufacturers to defy the downturn in new vehicle sales in 2011. After the first eight months of the year, Skoda Australia has delivered 1418 vehicles, 41.5 per cent ahead of the same time in 2010.

Octavia sales are up 13.2 per cent (783 vs 692), Octavia Scout even more at 140.3 per cent (185 vs 77), while the Superb is the only car in the sub-$70,000 large car segment to improve compared with 2010 (450 vs 208).

With prices for the Fabia 77TSI Hatchback to start at $18,990 before on-road costs, the Volkswagen Polo-sized Fabia is set to become the volume seller for the Czech brand in Australia in 2012.