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Launch of new Octavia reinforces place for Skoda Rapid

So said Vicky Magill, Skoda UK's product manager for both models, speaking at the media launch of the Octavia, which went on sale at the weekend.

‘When we launched Rapid at the end of 2012 we had to spend a lot of time trying to explain the car and how it fitted with new Octavia, a car no one had seen,’ she said.

The Rapid fits below the new Octavia – there's a small price overlap between the top end Rapid Elegance and entry-level Octavia S – to give Skoda two models competing in the UK's lower-medium segment, which takes around 36% of all new car sales.

The Rapid competes it what Magill describes as the more price-sensitive sub-£17,000 sector while Octavia is in the ‘mainstream, more emotional’ £17-23,000 price range.

UK buyers get a choice of four engines, 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel.

‘Other engines were available to us but we wanted to keep it simple and keep every model with CO2 emissions below 130g/km,’ she said. A Greenline version will be launch at the end of the year with emissions of 87g/km.

Sales this year are expected to be about 10,000 rising to more than 17,000 next year. An estate version arrives in mid-year and a high-performance VRS model will have its world premiere at this summer's Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Historically the best-selling Octavia has been the 1.6-litre TDI across all trim levels taking 45% of all sales, but Magill expects the 1.4-litre TSI to take away some of the diesel’s dominance. 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.