Skoda launches the new Octavia in the UK in March and says it will double sales of the car to the corporate sector.
Currently 30% of Octavia sales – around 9,500 models – are to fleet, but brand director Alasdair Stewart says the new car is so good he expects that figure to jump to 60%, or 19,000 models within three to four years.
That growth will come from conquest sales within the company car market.
“The new Octavia is a great car with a lot of features on board that will appeal to company car drivers and we anticipate a big boost in demand from them,” he said.
Those features include Adaptive Cruise Assistant, which maintains a pre-set distance from the car in front, and the Automatic Parking Assistant, which helps out the driver in tricky parking situations.
Stewart stressed that these packages were still being worked on and as yet the company could give no real indication of final prices.
“March is a long way off so we can’t give any figures yet, but they will certainly be very competitive,” he said.
The third-generation Octavia will be available with four petrol engines and four diesel, including a 1.6-litre Green-Line TDI version with CO2 emissions of just 89g/km which will average more than 83mpg.
It was always anticipated that the new model would be larger following the recent launch of the spacious Skoda Rapid, which slots in between the Fabia and Octavia models.
Stewart confirmed that the next generation of the company’s flagship model, the Superb, would also “grow”.
Speaking at the unveiling of the new Octavia in the Czech Republic Skoda, CEO Winfried Vahland said the fleet market was essential and he was very conscious of the needs of the company car driver.
“To appeal to the fleet market we need to offer this car at a good price and also ensure good re-sale values,” he said. “Fuel consumption is also important, but all of these features are in the DNA of the new Octavia.
“We are also aware that many business users spend long periods in their car and they know exactly what they want from it. To make sure they will be happy I have personally driven 30,000km (18,600 miles) in the new Octavia and am convinced they will be satisfied.”
Andy Thomas, Skoda’s fleet sales development manager in the UK, confirmed the company planned a big push to secure more fleet sales.
“It’s a very competitive market out there, but in quarter one we will have some special offers for contract hire and leasing and will be working with Skoda Finance to make them as competitive as possible,” he said.
“We have an existing database and will be re-visiting customers with information about this new car because it is a big step forward with new technology, green technology and more miles per gallon. It is a much better proposition for company car drivers.”
Skoda is also planning to increase the size of its field team to ensure existing business customers and potential new ones are spoken to as soon as possible.
“Octavia is a critical car for us in the fleet sector and we would anticipate around 30% of our sales will come from this model,” said Thomas.
“Having seen the car on three occasions during its development, the fleet team is fully expecting it to have a significant impact in the fleet sector.”