Skoda brand bosses are considering more vRS models including hot versions of the Superb and Kodiaq.
Fans of Skoda’s vRS performance models are currently restricted to just one car. The Octavia vRS is now in its third generation, but it seems brand bosses are looking to add to the Skoda hot sub-brand with variants of the existing Superb and new Kodiaq SUV. The performance versions could arrive in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier told Auto Express there is “serious potential” for vRS variants of the brand’s largest models. The opportunity to increase profitability is huge, as more buyers are choosing top-level trims like the new Octavia and Superb Sportline variants.
“It is under discussion,” he told us. “Larger models have more potential to add value and vRS could be a part of this. It’s not a question of the engineering; we can do it, but we need to establish a business case first”.
However, Maier played down a return of the Fabia vRS hot hatch as the margins don’t stack up. “It is not feasible,” he said.
Another senior source told us: “People ask us ‘please build a Fabia vRS, it’ll be great!’ But we say back: ‘Will you buy it?’ The potential to make money in that market is very slim”.
A flagship Superb vRS would have to go over and above the existing range-topper, which is powered by a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo with four-wheel drive. It’s possible the 296bhp powertrain from the Volkswagen Golf R will be drafted in instead, possibly with a small power boost to help differentiate the two models. That could then be offered exclusively with four-wheel drive in the forthcoming Kodiaq SUV at a later date.
However, the Czech brand is also focused on pushing plug-in hybrids to market as soon as possible. The first petrol-electric model to market will be the Superb in late 2018, with the Kodiaq and next-generation Yeti to follow.
Skoda targets US market launch
Maier also added weight to rumours that Skoda could finally launch in the US market before too long. “We have our thumbs on the pulse of the American market” he said.
“The US accounts for 25% of the global car market – we would be crazy to ignore that. There is definite interest, and we are closely monitoring it. We are not under any pressure though”.
Maier cited models like the Superb and new Kodiaq as the ideal models to attract US buyers away from home market saloons and SUVs. “We have the product portfolio for it, but if we do launch there we need to do it properly. You only get once chance”.