Skoda a lot to like at right price
THE Skoda comeback in Australia is struggling for traction and action. As has every start-up brand, it has battled to make an impact against about 50 rivals, despite bigbrother support from Volkswagen. The German giant owns the Czech carmaker and chose it before Seat, from Spain, as its value contender for Australia.
Skoda has good cars and the Roomster and Octavia are great value, but with no huge advertising budget, it is hard to get people interested. Even a breakthrough $10 million spend can go wrong, as Renault discovered after an early flurry in Australia.
Skoda badly needs a hero car to go from its current 850 sales to the 1500 and more it had been hoping to achieve in its first year.
The obvious choice is the allnew Fabia (above), which sits between the Volkswagen Polo and Golf in size and has enough youthful appeal to work well here, but only at the right price.
I drove a Fabia wagon in Britain and was impressed by its size, styling, handling, diesel performance and a cabin that’s fresher and more youthful than the all- black cave approach Volkswagen favours. The Fabia could be a winner, but that depends on pricing, which will have to be in the low $20,000s to slide beneath the Golf and line up against the Corolla, Civic and Tiida.
Skoda Australia boss Matthew Wiesner has been unable to convince the chiefs in the Czech Republic to give him the price he needs, so the Fabia is still only a possibility for us.
Even if the dollar deal succeeds, the car will not be an easy sell, but there are plenty of reasons to like the Fabia. It is a good car and is obviously from the Volkswagen family, but the Skoda DNA makes it different.
I’d like to see the Fabia here, but only if the price is right.