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Paris show: Skoda to electrify future RS models

Skoda’s Vision RS previews new small hatch and electrified RS future

Skoda logo4 Oct 2018

By TIM NICHOLSON in PARIS

FUTURE Skoda RS variants are likely to use electrified powertrains, with the Czech car-maker’s global chief executive Bernhard Maier confirming that the plug-in hybrid Vision RS hot hatch concept provides a glimpse of the next phase of the performance sub-brand.
 
Skoda used this week’s Paris motor show to unveil the striking Vision RS, which also previews the next-generation small car that will ultimately replace the slow-selling Rapid.
 
The company also uncovered its high-performance diesel-powered Kodiaq RS – the first SUV to wear an RS badge – that pumps out 176kW/500Nm from its twin-turbo four-cylinder oiler.
 
Speaking to GoAuto on the Skoda stand, Mr Maier said RS models in the future could have electrification, but also highlighted the performance of the diesel Kodiaq RS.
 
“This is a vision for how we could transfer the RS idea into the future,” he said. “As well we are just celebrating a wonderful new (Kodiaq) RS, the most modern diesel engine.
 
“But in the more distant future I think we will see also electrified vehicles with the RS idea.”
 
When asked if Skoda, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, was coming too late to the electrified powertrain party, Mr Maier said it was happy to wait until its customers were ready to adopt the technology.
 
“We promised our customers that we would not put everything technically in our cars that is, at the moment, already available. We listened to our customers. We want to know what is truly helping them, what is giving more ease in their life when it comes to technology,” he said. 
 
“And therefore, especially when we talk about electrification, then we need infrastructure, and we need the right cost base so that it is at least accessible for our customers as well. And (once) everything is in place then we think it is the right time to do so. 
 
“Now we see that the development is increasing when it comes to infrastructure and the costs are coming a little bit down at least so we think now is the right time.”
 
The Vision RS is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain that includes a 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine and an electric motor for a total power output of 180kW, a 0-100km/h time of 7.1 seconds and an electric driving range of 70km.
 
Mr Maier said that the production C-segment hatchback that the Vision RS previews will be very similar in design to the sporty concept. 
 
“I have to be very proud because it is only a fingerprint away,” he said.
 
“But if you take the overall shape of the car, it is really close to the next possible compact model.”
 
Mr Maier said Skoda has put a lot of effort into ensuring that the new Rapid-replacing small car is a success.
 
“It will be the successor of the current model – and it will get the new name,” he said.
 
“And we put everything together. The best ingredients we have. So I think this is now the perfect combination of everything – a young sporty and attractive car with all of the typical Skoda ingredients – more value for money, more car for your money, more roominess, high-end reliability. 
 
“But that emotional design brings everything together.”
 
The all-new small car will be revealed in December and will replace the slow-selling Rapid, finally giving Skoda a proper rival for its Volkswagen Golf cousin, as well as other big players including the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30.
 
Mr Maier also described Australia as an “important market” for the car-maker globally and said it was primed for further growth.
 
“I think, yeah, it is an important market. Now we have with our new model range, we have the perfect setup to develop our footprint over there,” he said. 
 
He added that the company’s move from VW Group’s budget brand to a fully fledged European competitor was in full swing and highlighted some of the ways Skoda had recently grown.
 
“We have already said we can develop and increase our footprint by bringing new models. The best proof you can see on the booth here today. The future will bring more than 20 models to 2020, that’s I think the best proof of that,” he said. 
 
“And we are expanding by entering new markets. This year we went into Singapore, next year we are going to South Africa, we are extending our activities in India. 
 
“We are on the move and everything looks quite challenging anyway, but we are very motivated and do the things with all of our passion and dedication.”

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