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Paris show: Skoda RS to be Octavia only

Fab three: Skoda’s boss has confirmed the third-generation Fabia light car range will definitely not be made available in red-hot RS guise.

Fabia RS ruled out as Skoda chief says RS badge will only be used for Octavia

Skoda logo6 Oct 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON in PARIS

THE chief of Skoda has confirmed the company will limit the RS performance sub brand to the Octavia mid-sizer for now, while dashing any hope for the return of the Fabia RS pocket-rocket.

A wider roll-out of RS to other Skoda models, such as the Rapid small car, was reported late last year, but Skoda CEO Winfried Vahland told Australian media at the Paris motor show that while he would “never say no”, an expansion of RS was on the backburner.

“Right now we want to keep it in Octavia,” he said. “It’s pretty successful and maybe we can even explore it further. What I would think about, it might be possible aside from the low increment line, we should have a sporty line.”

When asked whether this would mean more Monte Carlo variants, which add sportier looking exterior styling highlights and more equipment, Professor Vahland said it would depend on the size of the car.

“Mont Carlo for me is more Yeti downwards, but if it’s bigger - so Octavia upwards to SUVs and Superbs - we can speak maybe about a sporty line. Visible exhaust systems and big engines, but not an RS. But a very sporty look.”

Professor Vahland, who was at the Paris show to launch the new-generation Fabia hatch and Combi wagon, poured cold water on the possible return of the RS as he believes customers do not want to pay a premium for such a car.

“We will not do it. Because this type of vehicle in the smaller segments, you have certain price limits for consumers, normally younger customers or older customers, they have a certain budget.

“If the car comes, for example, in a European price above €20,000 ($A28,900), you don’t find customers.”

Professor Vahland said the success of the Octavia RS did not necessarily mean it will translate to success with other models, but added that he was confident of sportier versions of the Fabia further down the track.

“With the Octavia RS, we have different segments and you find customers that really want to buy it, want to have it. Because they are coming down from premium brands.

“Next year we will have the (Fabia) Monte Carlo version, which is a very sporty look, but not so much on price.”

Professor Vahland also ruled out introducing all-wheel drive performance variants to the Skoda line-up, saying the company would be better served by focusing on its strengths.

“You have to be successful with something with what you are doing. We are very successful with the (Octavia) RS and not so successful with Fabia RS. We are very successful with Fabia in rally sport but that is not a contradiction because rally sport is for small handier cars.” Skoda has sold RS versions of the first- and second-generation Fabia in various global markets, but the company confirmed in September last year that the new-gen version would ditch the go-fast variant due to low take-up.

The Czech-built hot hatch was also available in Australia, but never managed to gain the attention of its mechanically related cousin, the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Skoda Australia has confirmed a 2015 launch for the Fabia range, including the Combi.

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