Skoda bets on bigger Octavia wagon
GENEVA -- Skoda has made its Octavia station wagon larger and roomier to help fend off a growing number of competitors in the compact wagon segment.
The Octavia Combi, which goes on sale in Europe in May, is 90mm longer and 45mm wider than the car it replaces. It has a trunk capacity of 610 liters, rising to 1,740 liters with the rear seats folded, which Skoda says is the largest in its class.
Unveiling the Octavia Combi at the Geneva auto show last week, Skoda boss Winfried Vahland stressed the importance of the Octavia model range. "It's the heart of the brand," he told journalists.
The Octavia was Skoda's best-selling model in Europe last year. European sales of the Octavia, both notchback and wagon variants, were 178,023 units last year, down from 187,030 the year before, according to JATO Dynamics. In total, Skoda sold 498,023 vehicles in Europe in 2012, slightly down from 495,470 in 2011.
The wagon accounts for 24 percent of Octavia sales in Europe, Skoda said. In Germany, Skoda's second-biggest market after China, the wagon version accounted for more than 92 percent of sales.
The new Octavia's four gasoline and four diesel engines are 17 percent more fuel-efficient than those of the current generation, Skoda said.
The most efficient of the new engines offers CO2 emissions to 87 grams per kilometer.
The Octavia uses parent Volkswagen Group's new MQB (Modular Transverse Toolkit) platform that also underpins the new VW Golf, Audi A3 and Seat Leon.
Europe's compact wagon segment is getting more crowded. VW showed a wagon version of the Golf in Geneva and Toyota unveiled an Auris wagon. Honda unveiled a near-production wagon concept of its Civic compact.
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