The next Skoda Fabia city car is due to be revealed at the 2014 Paris motor show in October, and details of the newly-designed model are starting to emerge.
The new Fabia is expected to continue with the same underpinnings as the current model, rather than be built upon the Volkswagen Group’s MQB modular platform that is used for cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 as has been widely reported. However, Skoda is expected to borrow heavily from the VW product catalogue when it comes to engines and infotainment systems.
The engine options will likely mirror those seen in the updated Volkswagen Polo, including a range of new three-cylinder powerplants as well as the existing 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo that is now offered in two states of tune (66kW/160Nm and 81kW/175Nm rather than the existing 77kW/175Nm) in that model range.
Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer confirmed to CarAdvice that the new Fabia - which is expected to see a significant design overhaul with styling similar elements similar to the new Octavia model - is due to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2015, with both the hatchback and the wagon models set to be retained.
“There will be a wagon derivative of the new model. It is one of the only cars in this market space that has a wagon body and it proved to be quite popular,” Irmer said, suggesting around 20 per cent of Fabia sales locally had been the estate version.
Irmer said the Fabia was bolstered by the RS version locally, with the wagon in particular seeing a decent proportion of sales.
“There has been quite a high proportion of the RS in the market. It's a really a unique offering in the market,” he said.
However, Irmer confirmed reports from late 2013 that there will be no replacement for the RS hot-hatch and wagon models, though suggested the lack of an RS variant would not damage the brand’s image.
“It will have an impact, but it won't be significant,” Irmer said.
Irmer instead suggested the brand would focus on its Monte Carlo models, which are powered by standard engines but feature sporty styling.
“We sell very well off the Monte Carlo version in the Fabia range,” Irmer said. “That is going to continue.”
It is expected that Skoda will also offer the next Fabia with a sedan body style, though Irmer suggested any such version of the Fabia wouldn’t be considered locally due to Australian buyers’ preference towards hatchbacks. Indeed, city-sized sedans such as the Nissan Almera struggle to sell in significant numbers – that model, for example, managed just six sales in April 2014, down from 176 units in the same month in 2013.
“Even if there was a sedan it is not something we would consider for the Australian market. It is something of a niche model,” he said.
Skoda repositioned the Fabia range just a few months ago, with the Czech city hatchback starting from $15,990. However, the brand is struggling to sell the five-door hatch and wagon models, with sales down 28 per cent year-to-date.