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Skoda plans second SUV to boost expansion plans

In line with plans from parent company, the Volkswagen Group to be the world's largest auto-manufacturing conglomerate by 2018, Skoda is looking to increase sales to 1.5 million. A second SUV is seen as a vital cog in that plan.

Skoda is currently embarking on a product renewal and expansion programme. A new Octavia estate, the third stage of the plan after the launch of the Rapide and new Octavia hatch, goes on sale in the UK in June priced from £16,790. The estate range will include front and four-wheel-drive versions.

The outgoing model became Europe's best-selling estate for the first time in 2012 with sales of 124,000 – a third of the Octavia total.

A new Scout version of the estate, with greater ground clearance, lower body cladding and SUV-style additions, will be introduced next year to broaden the appeal of the range. Before then the Skoda will add a five-door Sportback version of the Rapide at the Frankfurt Show in September.

But the Czech company will also need new production facilities to reach its sales targets. Last year's sales of 940,000 cars equalled the company's production capacity at its plants in the Czech Republic, China, Russia and India.

Two more factories are being built in Skoda's number one market, China, which will more than double capacity to half a million cars a year, and further expansion in Russia is likely. Skoda aims to make Russia its top market in Europe in the next few years. Currently it sells 100,000 cars a year there – 30,000 less than in Germany. UK sales were around 65,000 in 2012.   

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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.