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Future models - Skoda - Kodiaq

Skoda Kodiaq to land early

All wheel only: Skoda will start its Kodiaq roll out with more premium versions of the seven seater before looking at lower end models.

Seven-seat Skoda SUV set to debut in Australia six weeks early, starts at $45,000

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Skoda logo21 Feb 2017

By TIM ROBSON

SKODA’S highly anticipated Kodiaq has been put on fast forward for an Australian launch, with the Mazda CX-9-rivalling large SUV now set to land in June.

It was originally slated to go on sale in July, but an additional allocation of 40 cars for Australia has pushed production forward by almost six weeks, according to Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer.

“We are being prioritised,” he said. “Australia is really ahead of the curve when it comes to SUVs, and the factory recognises this.”

Mr Irmer said that the company is airfreighting examples of the Kodiaq for homologation testing in Australia to cut the time to launch, which he remarked is “not cheap”.

The Kodiaq is confirmed to launch locally with petrol power, a seven-speed DSG and an all-wheel-drive layout, but exact pricing and specification will be revealed closer to launch.

However, Mr Irmer confirmed that even the cheapest Kodiaq will be well-equipped, dispelling the notion that the entry-level vehicles are stripped back and bare bones.

“(The range will start from) around the mid-forties ($45,000),” said Mr Irmer.

“We haven’t released specification yet, but what we have said is we will always have an automatic gearbox, we will always be seven seats and be all-wheel-drive always,” said Mr Irmer.

“The smallest engine we will have is a 132kW (2.0-litre four-cylinder) petrol, which is a derivative of the (Octavia) RS engine with slightly detuned maximum horsepower. It’s actually been tuned to make maximum horsepower very low in the range around 2000rpm.

“Acceleration (from 0 to 100km/h) is around eight and a half seconds. That’s plenty for a seven-seat SUV. I think you can get your kids quick enough to school and back.”

Mr Irmer suggested that the Kodiaq will be a sales success for Skoda, with the brand expecting a sell-out year for the new SUV.

“Maybe later, but in the beginning we know already how many cars we are getting this year, so we know what our sales numbers are,” he said. “It’s very interesting – you usually don’t know what your sales numbers are in advance, but this time we know how many because we anticipate they will all be sold by the end of the year.”

Mr Irmer admitted that the Kodiaq – which has piqued interest from thousands of prospective buyers despite a lack of any serious marketing on Skoda Australia’s part – will be in short supply this year, but when production pressures ease, lower-spec models will be considered.

“Supply will be better next year, but the first six months will be harder because all other markets will be in ramp-up mode,” he said. “We were very early in the ramp phase because we were prioritised, but everyone starts kicking for their stock, so it makes good sense to go in with the top notch, and reach out later with lower specs when capacity frees up.”

Left-hand-drive production of the Kodiaq has just commenced, with right-hand-drive builds rolling down the Czech plant line in March for Australia and the UK.

Based on the Volkswagen Tiguan, the seven-seat Kodiaq will beat the donor VW product – to be known as the Allspace – to market by more than eighteen months.

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