The boss of Skoda Australia is confident a specification upgrade due in the third quarter of this year will give the compact Skoda Rapid a boost in local showrooms.
“We will have the latest navigation available to the Volkswagen Group,” Irmer revealed.
“Also a new touchscreen is coming, multi-colour too, so it gives it a bit more spice. That’s what we’ve found the customers really want, not the plain entry cars.”
Irmer said a high percentage of Australian customers opted for the Rapid’s optional $1800-$2100 Style pack – so many in fact that supply was initially constrained before restrictions were lifted and demand could be met.
The local boss said Rapid sales were “at expectation” despite shifting just 368 cars in more than half a year on sale last year and 74 in the first two months of this year, giving it a tiny 0.2 per cent share of the sub-$40,000 small car segment. Parent brand Volkswagen, by comparison, sold 3273 Golfs across January and February, while the Mazda 3 led the way with 7501 sales.
Irmer says Rapid sales will increase gradually as the car becomes more established in the market.
“We know it’s a very busy segment with lots of offerings and to come up with a new car, it’s going to take time, as it took for all of our cars to establish themselves in the market, so we have set realistic expectations.”
The Skoda Rapid is currently priced from $18,990 to $23,750 before on-road costs.