Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new Octavia RS230 in Sydney yesterday (review), the head of Skoda Australia, Michael Irmer, confirmed his high sales expectations for the new seven-seater SUV.
“We think Kodiaq will be one of our best sellers. It has got the potential to one day overtake Octavia," he said.
So far this year, Skoda has sold 1550 Octavias, with that number likely to hit around 1900-2000 for the total of 2016. On its own, the Octavia range makes up nearly half of Skoda sales.
That would see the Kodiaq’s equivalent sales figures increase the brand’s current tally, of around 4500, to 7500 or more by the end of 2018.
Initially, Australia-bound Kodiaq models will be powered by a 132kW petrol engine only, with the 140kW turbo diesel to follow a few months later.
“The Santa Fe is probably a good comparison for space, and, in a lot of [other] ways," Irmer said.
"I think the Koreans are in the heart of our competitor set and for this product with the Santa Fe and also Kia Sorento, you can probably be able to say from a product content perspective it’s probably a good comparison.”
Skoda is also likely to follow the Koreans' premium equipment strategy, which has worked rather well despite the initial hesitation of buyers on the idea of paying $60,000 for a Korean vehicle.
“Also, the Koreans have done a premium strategy on those products similar to what we plan to do as well. [We will offer] very highly-equipped vehicles, always 4WD, always DSG [the Volkswagen term for a dual-clutch transmission], only the biggest engines we can have from factory, seven seater standard and high equipment levels.”
The brand will also launch with higher-specification variants of the Kodiaq to keep the price gap to the next-generation Yeti clear. The smaller Yeti, which will grow in size compared to the current-generation, and also undergo a full restyling strategy for wider appeal, will fill the popular small SUV segment for Skoda.