Skoda will be repositioning the next-generation Octavia to create a more obvious gap in the range for the new Rapid.
The Rapid, due for launch in the fourth quarter of this year, offers more interior and boot space than the first generation Octavia and is only 8.6cm shorter than the current model – although its wheelbase is 2.4cm longer.
However, Skoda bosses have laid out plans to “re-premiumise” the Octavia. The new car will be revealed at Geneva Motor Show next March and will be launched around the same time.
It will be noticeably bigger than the current model, moving up from C-segment (compact family car, e.g. Ford Focus) to D-segment (family car, e.g. Ford Mondeo). Pricing will rise although specification levels will be significantly higher – Skoda claims the car will be better value and of greater appeal to fleets.
“The Octavia will be repositioned and re-premiumised,” said Vicky Magill, Skoda product marketing manager. “We will chop off the lower end and increase the price and specification. It will be more of a fleet proposition.”
The similarity in size between the current Octavia and Rapid could cause a few months of possible confusion for fleet buyers until the new, bigger Octavia is launched next year.
Skoda has a busy launch plan next year. Joining the new Octavia hatchback will be the Octavia estate, Octavia VRS and facelifted Superb.