Škodas future electric crossover should look similar to this, the Vision E concept

Škoda's future electric crossover should look similar to this, the Vision E concept

Škoda has come a long way in a relatively short period. Sales keep rising, especially in China and Europe, and profits with them. This, more than any other, is the division which can seemingly do no wrong within the Volkswagen Group family of companies and brands. 

It was an impressive November for Škoda Auto. The company delivered 114,600 vehicles (+17.5%) and experienced double-digit rates of sales expansion in Europe (+12.2%), India (+43.0%) and China (+23.4%). The fastest rising models were the Octavia, Superb and Kodiaq, while deliveries of the new Karoq numbered 2,500 vehicles. Overall, it was the best month in company history.

Performance by model was as follows:

  • Octavia (41,000; +7.7%)
  • Rapid (combined, for both models with this name: 19,400; -0.7%)
  • Fabia (18,400; +7.5%)
  • Superb (13,300; +10.4%)
  • Kodiaq (13,200; new)
  • Yeti (now out of production in Europe: 3,800; -49.2%)
  • Citigo (only sold in Europe: 3,100; +1.1%)
  • Karoq (2,500; new)

Electrification is being embraced by Škoda in a big way. In addition to PHEV versions of existing and future models, by 2025, there will be be five battery-electric vehicles. One of these will be based on the Vision E, a concept which was seen for first time at AutoShanghai in April. Executives at the show spoke of the prototype having a power output of 225kW and a range of up to 500 km.

China is the brand's number one market - fully one quarter of all deliveries are to customers in the PRC.

China is seen as remaining the brand's number one market - fully one quarter of all deliveries are to customers in the PRC. The push into PHEVs and EVs is to be especially aggressive there. Having sold 317,000 cars to China-based customers in 2016, the target for 2020 is an ambitious 600,000-plus.

A segment

The Citigo went on sale in the Czech Republic in December 2011, with other European markets following throughout 2012. This, the smallest Škoda, is pretty much the same car as the Volkswagen up! and SEAT Mii, even if there is no electric equivalent of the e-up! for the Czech or Spanish brands.

A facelift premiered at the Geneva motor show in March. It went on sale from three months later in Europe.

The next Citigo is again expected to be manufactured in Slovakia. It should be built alongside the successors for the up! and Mii from 2019 or 2020 as well as a new model for Audi. Some sources say that a car for Škoda may not be part of the next generation project, due to relatively slow sales of the current Citigo.

Lower income markets car

Thomas Sedran, head of Strategy for the Volkswagen Group, told the media in August that Škoda is leading a project to develop a car for low-income countries. Some of the findings of its cancelled JV with Tata Motors are being brought into play for this vehicle. The car is to be on sale in relevant countries by 2020. India, Iran and Brazil were specifically mentioned by Sedran.

The company may be considering reviving the Favorit name for this model.

B, B/C and C segments

The current generation of the Fabia five-door hatchback and Combi had their global debuts at the Paris motor show in October 2014. Due to slow sales of the former RS (vRS in the UK), there was no replacement for that derivative. This was the first B segment model to use Volkswagen Group's MQB architecture, which Škoda Auto is said to refer to internally as NQV. There have been reports which state that NQV is made up of roughly 50% MQB components and 50% from the second generation Fabia.

Production of the third generation of this small car commenced at Mladá Boleslav in August 2014. This takes place on Line M1. The Octavia and Rapid are built on Line M13 at the same plant. Production of the Combi (wagon/estate) was added at Mladá Boleslav in December 2014.

The Fabia is built at Mladá Boleslav on Line M1. The Octavia and Rapid are built on Line M13.

Chinese production at SAIC VW's Anting plant commenced in March 2015. The car's local debut  ('Fabia Jingrui') was a month later at the Shanghai motor show. Chinese market sales of the third generation Fabia five-door hatchback commenced in April 2015. The engine choice at launch was between 1.4- and 1.6-litre MPI petrol units.

SKD assembly of the Fabia will commence in Algeria during 2018 it was announced at the time of the plant's opening in July. This will likely be the facelifted car which is due to be released in Europe and China from the second quarter. The next Fabia, another MQB A0 model, should be on sale in 2022.

Confusingly, there are several Rapids: the smaller Rapid is a sedan. It is built in India as a B-segment rival for the Polo sedan. Another Rapid, a larger hatchback, had its debut at the Paris motor show in September 2012. Production of the latter started in the Czech Republic in August 2012, with sales across Europe following two months later.

There is also a sedan version of the Rapid hatchback. This, the Rapid Xin Rui, is exclusive to China.

A further variant, the Rapid Spaceback, was announced in July 2013 and had its global debut at the Frankfurt motor show two months later. This car is 180mm shorter than the other hatchback upon which it is based, while the boot volume falls by 135 cubic litres. Production commenced at the Mladá Boleslav plant in August 2013.

The Spaceback was exhibited at November 2013's Guangzhou motor show. The locally made version, the Rapid Xindong, premiered at April 2014's Beijing motor show.

Europe's Rapid is a C-segment hatchback which slots into the range between the Fabia and Octavia. Škoda builds it alongside its twin, the SEAT Toledo, in Mladá Boleslav. Russian production commenced in March 2014. This is at Kaluga, the same plant which makes the closely related VW Polo sedan. SKD assembly in Ukraine commenced in March 2013.

The sedan for China has been built by SAIC Volkswagen since May 2013. This is alongside the VW Santana, production of which commenced in December 2012. Both cars use an update of the A05 or PQ25 platform, known as PQ26. SVW's four-door Rapid had its debut at the Shanghai motor show in April 2013.

Facelifted versions of the Rapid and Rapid Spaceback premiered at the Geneva motor show in March 2017. These went on sale across Europe two months later.

The replacements for the Rapid/Rapid Xin Rui (hatchback) and Rapid Spaceback/Rapid Xindong should enter production in Europe and China from 2020.

The replacements for the Rapid/Rapid Xin Rui (hatchback) and Rapid Spaceback/Rapid Xindong are expected to enter production in Europe and China from 2020. They should follow the arrival of a successor to the Rapid (sedan) in late 2019. The architecture will be MQB A0.

C/D segment

Initial details of the current shape Octavia five-door hatchback were revealed to the media in December 2012. The car is larger than the previous model but still not as long as the European D segment's biggest models such as the Ford Mondeo. It is said to be 4,659mm long (up 90mm over the old-shape Octavia and 1,814mm wide (+45mm). Škoda says it is a rival for the likes of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra and the Ford Focus, and while priced against them, it is certainly not similarly sized.

Sales in European markets commenced in January 2013. Mladá Boleslav was the first plant to make the five-door hatchback. The company's main plant adjacent to its HQ is also the source of the kits which are assembled in both Ukraine and Kazakhstan - SKD assembly began in both markets in June 2013.

In June 2011, the VW Group and GAZ Group stated that three models would be built at the latter's Nizhny Novgorod plant in Russia. The Octavia was to be the third of these, with assembly commencing on schedule in June 2013. Production in China would follow in Spring 2014, Škoda stated in March 2013. The production model premiered at April 2014's Beijing motor show and went on sale during the following month, offering the choice of 1.4 TSI and 1.6 petrol engines.

The Octavia RS (vRS in some markets) derivative had its global debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2012, offering a choice of 2.0 TSI or 2.0 TDI engines.

The Volkswagen Group's Shendra plant in India began building the latest shape Octavia in August 2013. Production of the old model, which was badged locally as the Laura, ceased soon after.

The Octavia Scout had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2014. It sits 33mm higher than other Octavia combis (estates/wagons) and has standard all-wheel drive.  

The low emissions Greenline premiered at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013.

One of the car's more unusual features is that it has been engineered with two rear suspension systems. Cheaper variants have a beam-axle for reasons of weight and cost, while pricier and more powerful Octavias have a multi-link arrangement. This system also applies to the SEAT Leon, another car which also uses the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform.

The Octavia RS 230 had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2015. This was Škoda's first model to feature an electronically controlled limited-slip differential as standard. The 230 designation was a reference to the horsepower of the RS special edition. It was powered by a 169kW (230PS) 2.0-litre petrol engine.

All-wheel drive for the RS/vRS became available in certain markets from September 2015. The RS 4x4 was a world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. Available as both a hatchback and a wagon, it is powered by a 135kW (184PS) 2.0 TDI and has a standard DSG transmission.

A facelift for the Octavia was announced by Skoda in October 2016, with sales of the updated car commencing from the end of 2016. The facelifted RS/vRS was then announced in December 2016. Both body styles have two four-cylinder engines to choose from. While the 2.0 TDI diesel engine has the same 135kW (184hp) output as previously, the output of the 2.0 TSI petrol engine rose by 7kW (10hp) to 16kW (230hp), which is the same as the previous RS 230 limited edition.

Production of the facelifted Octavia commenced at Mladá Boleslav in February 2017.

The RS 245 hatchback and Combi were world premieres at the Geneva motor show in March 2017. These, the most powerful Octavias yet, are powered by a 245hp 2.0-litre petrol turbo. This is the same engine that powers the VW Golf GTI Performance and the RS 245/vRS 245 also comes with that car's self-locking differential. Unlike the RS/vRS, the 245 can be ordered with a seven-speed DSG. The dual clutch gearbox for the less powerful cars is a six-speed DSG.

The Octavia was one of four Volkswagen Group vehicles to be assembled at a then-new SKD plant in Algeria. Build started in July 2017.

The next generation Octavia is due out in early 2020. It should be based on the MQB A/B Evo architecture.

The next generation Octavia is due out in early 2020. It should be based on the MQB A/B Evo architecture.

D/E segment

The current generation Superb hatchback had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2015 with production at the Kvasiny plant commencing later that month. The same Czech factory began building the combi (wagon) in the June.

The Superb straddles two segments and manages to outsell many models in traditional size classes just above and just below it - the same recipe which works so well for the Octavia.

Most E segment models are 5m or more long, but the Superb measures 4,860mm as a hatchback and a combi. It is therefore slightly too big for the D segment. Volkswagen itself is trying to see if it can replicate the success of the big Škoda in a higher price bracket: the Arteon is 4,862mm long hatchback, making it a bigger car with a different style of body to the CC which it replaced.

Unlike the previous Superb hatchback/sedan with its 'Twin Door' tailgate, the latest one is a hatchback only. The old car had a bootlid within its hatchback. Skoda says the Twin Door added weight and complexity, while most owners used the boot option once or twice and then switched to the hatch.

China's Superb retains the Supai model name of the previous generation hatchback. Its local premiere was at April 2015's Shanghai motor show. It is manufactured by the SAIC Volkswagen joint venture, as was the old previous model. Hatchback production commenced in October 2015. The wagon is imported.

Škoda sold a combined 750,000 units of the previous two generation models. The company wants to sell 800,000 units of the latest model (including the Combi) over its lifecycle. That should last until the third quarter of 2022 after a facelift in late 2018.

Crossovers & SUVs

There is as yet no B segment SUV but a sort-of successor for the Roomster Scout - discontinued in 2016 - seems a logical addition to the Škoda line-up. Such a vehicle would be based on the future VW T-Cross. The Volkswagen Group will probably delay its Czech subsidiary's entry to the segment until 2020, so as to give the T-Cross a good chance of establishing itself. Given that the Karoq is the same size as the Nissan Qashqai, the B-SUV will probably be sized between 3.9 and 4.2m. It may well be sub-4m so as to be competitive in the Indian market.

The Karoq is the replacement for the Yeti. Production commenced in the Czech Republic during July. The ramp up was intentionally slow and the first vehicles did not reach customers until October. The new model is 4,382mm long, 1,841mm wide, and 1,605mm high, putting it firmly in the C segment against the Nissan Qashqai. The vehicle was revealed to the media at an event in Stockholm in May. The Karoq is closely related to the SEAT Ateca.

Unlike the rival Peugeot 3008, the Karoq can be ordered with all-wheel drive. The diesel engine choice is between a 1.6 and two versions of a 2.0-litre. The petrol line-up consists of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder. All five are turbocharged.

The boot has a capacity of 521 litres. This rises to 1,630 litres when all three back seats are folded, while a VarioFlex system allows each of the three to be removed. That lifts capacity to 1,830 litres.

SAIC Volkswagen should reveal the Karoq long-wheelbase during 2018.

The SAIC Volkswagen joint venture is expected to reveal the locally made version of the Karoq during 2018. This should be a special stretched model which would go into production by mid-year. While the Karoq is a five-seater, the LWB Karoq model might be a seven-seater.

The Skoda SUV range is eventually expected to consist of these four models:

  • 4.1m long SUV, effective replacement for discontinued Roomster MPV
  • 4.4m long Karoq (plus LWB Karoq for China - these replace Yeti and LWB Yeti)
  • 4.6m long Kodiaq Coupe
  • 4.7m long Kodiaq

There is a chance that another model, a 5m long SUV, will be added to the range. This would share its architecture with SAIC Volkswagen's Volkswagen Teramont. It could only be for China, though.

Škoda issued a media release in December 2016 marking the 50th anniversary of the start of production of an obscure model called Trekka, leading to speculation that a future SUV might revive this model name.

Škoda will add a high performance Karoq RS (vRS in the UK) in 2018.

In August 2017, rumours began to circulate that the Volkswagen Group is planning to restyle the Karoq and sell it in South American markets as the VW Tharu. Production is said to be planned for a plant in Argentina. Meanwhile, Škoda will add a high performance Karoq RS (vRS in the UK) in 2018.

The world premiere of the Yeti was at the Geneva show in March 2009, with European sales commencing five months later. The Yeti was originally a concept at the Geneva show in March 2005 but that was a three-door vehicle, whereas the production model is a five-door SUV.

The Volkswagen Group began CKD assembly of the Yeti at its Aurangabad plant in the Indian state of Maharashtra in October 2010. This followed SKD assembly in Ukraine, which had started in February 2010.

A low-emissions Yeti Greenline premiered at the Paris motor show in September 2010.

In June 2011, VW Group and GAZ Group revealed plans for Yeti production at the latter's Nizhny Novgorod plant from late 2012. These plans subsequently changed, with 500 cars assembled in November and December 2011. Manufacture of the vehicle commenced in December 2012.

China's then Shanghai Volkswagen joint venture (SVW, and now SAIC Volkswagen) would start building the Škoda Yeti in 2013, the company stated in December 2010. The model for China, the 'Ye Di', according to Skoda, is longer than the car sold in other markets between 2009 and late 2017. It is built at the newer Yizheng facility in Jiangsu province which opened in July 2012.

The long wheelbase Yeti had its global debut at the Chengdu motor show in August 2013. Production started two months later and sales in November 2013. An externally-mounted spare tyre is an option that has always been unique to the long-wheelbase model.

A facelifted Yeti was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013, as was an additional variant, the Yeti Outdoor. The latter had silver mirrors and black plastic cladding on its lower body panels. Both went on sale across Europe from late 2013, production having started at Kvasiny in November 2013.

Škoda has not been clear in its explanation of how the 4.4m long Karoq SUV affects China's Yeti. It is presumed that the LWB model will be the replacement. The company ceased building the Yeti in the Czech Republic during the third quarter of 2017. Assembly at several other plants worldwide is steadily being wound down.

The Kodiaq, not yet a year old, is already strongly contributing to Škoda's fortunes. An SUV design study, the VisionS, premiered at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. The production model was revealed to the media in September 2016, with its public debut following at the Paris motor show four weeks later.

The first car came off the line at Kvasiny in East Bohemia on 18 October 2016 but the ramp-up was slow and cars were not delivered to customers in European countries until February.

As well as being built in Europe, and in China by the SAIC Volkswagen JV, the Kodiaq should also be assembled in India and in Russia from 2018. In the latter country, the plant will be either Kaluga or Nizhny Novgorod.

SVW's Changsha plant opened in May 2015 with an initial annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles. The VW Touran and Škoda 'A0 SUV' would be added in the future, SVW announced, on the day when the first Volkswagen Lavida, the plant's initial product, came off the line. In March 2016, Škoda announced that the SUV would be available in China from the first half of 2017, with an additional derivative (likely to be a coupe body) to follow.

The Kodiaq, available with five or seven seats, has 720 litres of boot capacity, or 2,065 litres with the second row of seats folded. It is 4,697 mm long (just 40mm more than an Octavia), 1,882 mm wide and 1,676 mm tall (including roof rails); its wheelbase measures 2,791 mm.

The Kodiaq Scout, which has model-specific front and rear ends, 19-inch alloy wheels and all-wheel drive had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2017.

A 2.0-litre four-cylinder biturbo diesel Kodiaq RS (vRS in the UK) is due out in 2018. A facelift should happen in the final quarter of 2020. The second generation Kodiaq will most likely be launched in 2024.

What is provisionally called the Kodiaq Coupé is to be an additional SUV, due for release during 2018.

What is provisionally called the Kodiaq Coupé is to be an additional SUV, due for release during 2018. It will also play a role in Škoda's ambitious goal to be building and selling 1,500,000 vehicles a year by 2020.

The Volkswagen Group division has confirmed that SAIC Volkswagen will build a second Kodiaq bodystyle but the car is yet to be confirmed for Europe. Kvasiny would be the logical place to build it but the Czech plant doesn't have a lot of spare capacity due to the ever rising success of the other models it manufactures.

The Vision E, an electric concept which debuted at the 2017 Shanghai motor show (see image), offered a potential preview of the looks.

Electrified models

The Volkswagen e-up! has not been a big seller but still, the group is said to be planning a successor. A lower price and longer range could do wonders for this car's sales potential. SEAT may be given its own version of the second generation car, as may Škoda - at the moment, only the Volkswagen is available in electric form. 

Should there be an e-Citigo, this would likely go on sale during 2020. SEAT, for its part, revealed a concept version of the existing Mii, powered by batteries, at an event in Barcelona in February 2017.

An electric Fabia should be on sale from the second half of 2022.

A Superb plug-in hybrid is under development, as is a PHEV Kodiaq.

The Volkswagen Group has set itself a target of producing a series of models with a 500km+ range, a 15 minute rapid charging time and a cost below a comparative combustion-engined vehicle. Škoda's chairman Bernhard Maier confirmed to the media in June 2016 that the company was part of this project.

The first fully electric vehicle should be an electric SUV or crossover, with the batteries fitting into a space below what will be up to three rows of seating. This model should share much with the production version of Volkswagen's I.D. Bus. Production is due to commence in 2020.

An Octavia PHEV will likely be released in relevant countries from mid-2020 as part of the next generation model range.

A Superb plug-in hybrid is under development, as is a PHEV Kodiaq. These will be followed by the pure EV in 2020 which the company says will be built at its Mlada Boleslav plant. The Superb PHEV will be on sale in 2019, powered by a 1.4-litre petrol turbo engine plus one motor, the same powertrain as in the Passat GTE.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

Additional data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans, such as code names, production plants and expected annual build, are available in PLDB from QUBE.

The next makes to be looked will be Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini, with reports covering Audi and Porsche rounding out this series on the Volkswagen Group in the new year.