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Skoda Kodiaq RS SUV on the cards

As Skoda gets set to launch one of its most crucial cars ever, the brand hasn't ruled out giving its new Kodiaq seven-seat SUV the RS treatment.

The 162kW VW Golf GTI-powered Octavia RS is a hit in the Australian market, with more than 40 per cent of all Octavias being sold in its hottest variant.

The Kodiaq, which is based on the new Volkswagen Tiguan, will launch in Australia next July or August in high-spec, all-wheel-drive petrol and diesel variants.

Skoda board member for sales and marketing, Werner Eichorn, was receptive to the notion of a hotter version of the company's new SUV.

We have to find out at how we use the RS brand further.

"The icon right now is the Octavia RS," said Mr Eichorn. "We are selling 20 per cent of Octavia in RS (worldwide), which is a really rich mix, and everyone loves the car.

"Then we have to find out at how we use the RS brand further. Maybe with the Kodiaq; it's a good looking car, and the Sportline (pack) will definitely come through. Then we have to find out whether RS is possible in that sector. It makes sense to analyse it from the market side, but at this stage, there is no decision yet."

Mr Eichorn said that while the small Fabia hatch was once offered in RS spec, it was a tough sell in a segment that focuses heavily on price.

"We have to have to be careful (with the RS brand)," he said. "But definitely we are looking at improving the RS brand, and making cars like Octavia RS even stronger."

Skoda has recently added an all-wheel-drive version of the diesel Octavia RS to its European line-up, which at this stage is not on the cards for an Australian launch.

Mr Eichorn was dismissive, however, of the idea of Skoda joining the likes of Volkswagen, Renault and Mercedes-Benz in offering a style-side pick-up truck with a European badge – even though it could easily take VW's Amarok as a donor platform.

"We have to be realistic," he said. "We can think about everything, but we need to have a visibility and profitability check. Step by step, we will extend our product range further, but to move that far away? Let's find out."

Watch Tim Robson walk through the Skoda Kodiaq SUV at the 2016 Paris motor show:

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