The most important element of the Skoda effort in Australia is still not confirmed. It is the Fabia, a baby hatchback that should eventually become the brand's best seller Down Under.
The Fabia was launched in Europe only this year; the Fabia combi wagon will come towards the end of the year.
Skoda Australia is pushing for a starting price below $17,000 to give it the best chance of success.
“For the time being we have made no decision on the Fabia,” Skoda Australia head Matthew Wiesner says.
“We do not have the necessary volumes available. It also has something to do with the price. And it has something to do with the segment structure in Australia."
“Maybe the Fabia combi is more appropriate to the Australian market.”
The Fabia is a sellout in Europe. There could be an opportunity for more volume once the Fabia goes into production in India.
“It is one of the opportunities, but this would be an opportunity only from 2010 on,” Wiesner says.
Skoda would like to have the Fabia in Australia by 2009, once it has laid the foundations for the brand with the cute little Roomster wagon and the larger Octavia.
Further on, it is banking on a small four-wheel-drive called the Yeti and a full line of cars up to the Superb flagship, which will be revealed late this year.
Eckhard Schultz, head of product development at Skoda headquarters in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, says the company will have two new models a year for at least the next five years.
“We have our own design, packaging and special solutions,” he says. “Skoda is about lifestyles and practical solutions.”
Wiesner won't talk specifically about future products, but says he is looking at everything.
“If we want to be successful long-term we have to have the full product range,” he says. “It was a strategic decision to come to Australia. We want to open the market in the long term."
“We will look for opportunities over time. You cannot do everything at the same time. We are not in a hurry.”