Skoda goes into next year on the back of a record 2016 in New Zealand and with two important new models joining the fleet, the new-look Octavia sedan and wagon and all-new Kodiaq SUV.
Both will arrive around April to spearhead what Skoda predicts will be another record year of growth. With two months of 2016 left, it has already chalked up more sales than the 1006 it recorded for all of last year.
“We expect to sell 1300 new vehicles this year and 1600 next year,” Skoda NZ general manager Greg Leet has said. Reaching the 2016 target will mean a whopping 88 per cent hike in sales in four years, from the 690 it did in 2013.
A boost to numbers over the closing months of this year is the arrival of a go-faster all-wheel-drive Octavia diesel, the RS and its 2.0-litre 135kW engine. “We are taking deliveries of the Octavia RS diesel now,” said Leet. “It’s the first time we’ve had a sporty four-by-four diesel. Previously, we’ve just had the Scout.”
Skoda has just released the first pictures of the updated Octavia, showing refreshed styling inside and out. Changes to the outside are centred mostly around the front end, where the car gets revised headlights closer to the new family look pioneered by the upcoming Kodiaq SUV. There is also a lower bumper designed to emphasise the car’s width.
Inside, Octavia picks up an improved infotainment system, again influenced by technology on the Kodiaq. There’s a 24cmm touchscreen, the largest so far offered on an Octavia. Depending on the market, it comes with a wireless hotspot and can be ordered with a SIM card module to share high-speed broadband.
Other added features, either standard or optional, include a customised key that can store multiple driver preferences, a heated steering wheel, and folding tables on the backs of the front seats. There are also new driver assistance aids.
The current range of petrol and diesel engines are expected to carry over to the facelifted models. The top-range Octavia will be the RS230 with the 169kW 2.0-litre petrol engine from the Volkswagen Golf GTi.
- Skoda’s worldwide sales in 2016 are running 14 per cent up on last year. September was the strongest month in the 120-year history of the Czech Republic company.