Update - This article initially read that Skoda is reviewing the RS sub-brand on its profitability based on the report by Autocar. However, Maier's interview doesn't indicate that the RS models aren't profitable. See article for details
Skoda’s sporty RS-branded models are top sellers for the Czech marque in Australia, and the company’s new boss has put a review of the range's further potential at the top of his agenda, according to a new report out of the UK.
Speaking to Autocar, Bernhard Maier, Skoda's CEO, said he is evaluating whether the brand can make the RS sub-brand profitable enough to justify expansion and further development.
“Theoretically, there are no barriers to any kinds of derivatives, but it is a question of demand,” he said.
Globally, Skoda has put a lot of focus in creating styling packages like the Monte Carlo versions of the Fabia and Rapid hatchbacks that are sold here, while in other markets the company also sells ‘Laurin & Klement’ and ‘Sportsline’ kits for various models in its line-up.
Maier told the British publication the styling upgrades have proven to be popular and profitable.
“We have had a wonderful experience with trim upgrades, so I expect to do them again,” he said.
Despite this latest interview, earlier this year Maier said told the UK’s AutoExpress the brand sees “serious potential” for performance versions of the larger Superb and the recently-revealed Kodiaq SUV.
Currently, only the Octavia liftback and wagon offer RS performance variants, though the previous-generation Fabia also received the treatment.
The Octavia RS comes with two engines and two body-styles; a 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol (shared with the Volkswagen Golf GTI) and a 135kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, with both engines available in liftback or wagon bodies.
Both engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG transmission, driving the front wheels.
The sole RS offerings in Australia - the Octavia RS petrol and diesel models - are the brand’s top-selling models Down Under.
Much like parent company Volkswagen’s success with its Golf GTI and R models, the performance-hungry Australian market has proven to be one of the highest-selling RS markets globally relative to total Octavia sales.
Last year Skoda sold 2128 Octavias, a combination of liftbacks and wagons, with 47 per cent being RS models - around 1050 units.
Hopefully, the brand’s head office keeps the sporty models coming.