The 2018 Skoda Yeti will be vastly different to the model on sale today, according to the director of Skoda Australia, Michael Irmer.
Speaking with media this week, Irmer indicated that the all-new Yeti, which replaces the current, first-generation model in Australia in 2018, is likely to be unrecognisable compared to the current version.
"The new Yeti will be changing very much dramatically from the current model, and I think we want to have the association with the new Kodiaq - it could be like the smaller Kodiaq, rather than a new take on the existing Yeti," he said.
"Some of the boxiness, and the very small compact size: the new Yeti will be different."
Irmer described the way the new Yeti will play its part in the brand's SUV sales mix alongside the larger, more expensive, seven-seat-and-all-wheel-drive-only Kodiaq.
"We'll be pushing in that space: the Yeti will basically have a five-seat layout, smaller engines, front-wheel drive. It will serve that market," he said.
"We will fill the space up high [with Kodiaq] to create as much space as possible to put the Yeti underneath it. And then later on we might reach down, further on," he said, indicating that the brand will look at the small SUV segment with its own micro-high-rider to target the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V.
Kieran Merrigan, Skoda Australia planning and product manager, said the arrival of the new Yeti, which will grow in size and supplement the sales of the Kodiaq, will be vital for sales increases in Australia. In 2016 just 489 Yetis were sold here, down 42.5 per cent on the preceding year.
"The new Yeti coming next year is a really strong base to see some growth," he said. "We can't get enough of Yeti.
"The current Yeti will stop production in the end of June this year in preparation for the new-generation Yeti. So the European market has gone nuts for Yeti - they're starting to build cars out of Russia to supply Europe, it's incredible," he said.
"I think once the European market realised that Yeti is going to stop production, even seven years into its lifespan, the markets all jumped up and down for more production, which hurt us a little bit. We've asked for more cars, and we can't get them."