Skoda is planning a product onslaught, promising 30 new models by 2022. But in news that will break hearts across Australia, a Simply Clever ute won't be among them.
That’s the word from the brand's chief executive, Bernhard Maier, who has all but ruled out an Amarok-based Skoda ute, telling CarsGuide it’s “not in the plans”.
That's not to say the brand won't be busy elsewhere, though, with 30 new models - half of them all-new vehicles - to be rolled out over the next three years.
“There will be some completely new cars on the road that we have never seen before from Skoda, and some of them are product updates or new derivatives,” he said.
“I do have a lot of ideas, but until 2022, this one (a Skoda ute) is not among them.”
The ute market is one of Australia's most successful segments, responsible for more than 200,000 sales annually. The Volkswagen Amarok has shifted more than 5,500 units so far this year.
And Skoda has teased us with ute concepts in the past, like the Montiaq (pictured). Based on the Kodiaq SUV, the Mountiaq (or ‘mountain Kodiaq’) was developed by 35 students from the Skoda Vocational School for Mechanical Engineering. That car, though, was merely test exercise, and is not planned for production.
There is still a glimmer of hope, faint though it is, that the brand's position could change, with Mr Maier suggesting he’d “never say never” on a Skoda-badged HiLux rival.
“Based on our history, we probably can produce anything you can think of,” he said.
“This is an interesting platform, and for some markets it could be really successful. But we need a positive business case to really come up with that, and it's not in the plans.
“But never say never.”