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Skoda knocked by VW diesel scandal
Riding high: Skoda is set to get an SUV boost in the coming years with an all-new Yeti and a production version of the seven-seat VisionS concept (left) that was revealed at the Geneva motor show.
SUVs and better supply to push Skoda higher in the wake of VW Group diesel scandal
17 March 2016
SKODA had been “knocked” by the Volkswagen Group diesel emissions scandal that
caused the abrupt withdrawal of a key variant of its Yeti SUV from the
Australian market, inflicting some sales pain.
Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer said the cancellation of the Yeti diesel
variants, combined with the sell-out of the now replaced Superb, meant the
brand was trading “with only three and a half models”.
The Yeti TDI was pulled from the market in October 2015. Skoda was selling
about 73 units a month for the year until October, the majority being the
affected diesel variant.
In the three months until the end of the calendar year, it sold only 127 Yetis,
averaging 42 a month. Yeti was the only ongoing Skoda with the affected EA189
2.0-litre engine after the superseded diesel Superb had finished its run in
Yet, despite the emissions problem and a lower than expected contribution from
the Rapid liftback which found 448 homes in 2015, Mr Irmer described Skoda’s
2015 sales results as “pleasing”.
“Yes, the emission issue did affect us but not as much as our parent,” he said.
Despite Skoda's inability to meet demand for some models in 2015 – particularly
the top-selling Octavia RS – and then losing the Yeti diesel, the Czech
manufacturer's Australian sales lifted in 2015 by 23.3 per cent compared with
2014 and Mr Irmer said he remains optimistic about 2016.
“We had that increase basically on our passenger cars which was quite
remarkable given the Australian market is more about SUVs,” said Mr Irmer of
the company’s 2015 result.
“I am very happy that we have done so well in a market with virtually just our
passenger cars, given the passenger-car market is falling and the SUV market is
“It was also our first full year of Octavia after the supply restrictions –
mainly the RS but global demand tightened all production – were ended. But then
we had to stop the diesel Yeti which also affected sales.”
It wasn’t the only hiccup in 2015, with Mr Irmer indicating that the Rapid –
the company’s slow-selling small-car – became neglected as buyers demanded more
“It’s towards the end of its life-cycle at the moment,” he said of the Rapid.
“We are concentrating more on the prestige end of the market.”
Mr Irmer is pushing hard to get SUVs into the Australian market.
“It’s what we need,” he said. “We hope to have a seven-seat SUV in Australia by
the second half of 2017 and then the Yeti replacement, which is bigger than the
current model, in 2018.”
The seven-seat SUV will be based on the VisionS concept that was unveiled at
the recent Geneva motor show.
While Skoda last year repaired some of the problems with demand by boosting
production at its Czech plant, there is some concern the same issues may
Mr Irmer said the order bank for the new third-generation Superb – launched in
Australia this week – was already at 30,000 vehicles. That alone augers well
for the car that Skoda wants to push into the prestige segment.
“This is from our European customers and at the moment represents about six
months of demand,” he said.
Mr Irmer said even though there was strong interest in the Superb before its
Australian showroom debut, he was confident Australia has sufficient stock to
“We have been very aware of the potential for the car and have introduced ideas
such as option packs,” he said.
Skoda’s option packs on the Superb start at $1500 and rise to the comprehensive
Tech Pack – that includes an advanced safety inventory – at $3400 above the car
“This will reduce the need for buyers to select individual items to customise
their car and therefore potentially delaying delivery.”
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