MLADA BOLESLAV, Czech Republic - Skoda is continuing its repositioning strategy with the launch of the new Fabia Combi, says Detlev Schmidt, board member for sales and marketing.
'The Fabia Combi is another step forward in our development from a price-driven brand to a value-driven brand,' says Schmidt.
'In this respect the small station wagon - based on a new platform that later will also be used for the VW Polo successor - will fulfill a strategic mission,' he says. 'It will help to rejuvenate our brand and boost our image in an elegant and dynamic direction.'
The Fabia Combi resembles a scaled-down version of the Skoda Octavia station wagon. It has a functional and flexible interior with a spacious trunk compartment that offers 426 liters of luggage space, rising to 1,225 liters with the rear seats folded down.
Sales of station wagons of all sizes in western Europe have climbed 50 percent in the past four years, reaching a total of 2 million units in 1999. VW Polo- and Golf-sized station wagons accounted almost half of last year's market.
'For this reason we see a tremendous potential for the Fabia Combi,' says Schmidt. 'We expect to sell more than 70,000 units next year - one-third of all Fabia sales,'
The Fabia Combi is offered with three equipment levels, Classic, Comfort and Elegance. In Germany, the 1.4-liter entry model is priced at DM22,688 (E11,600), about DM2,900 more than the 1.4-liter Fabia hatchback.
The Fabia Combi faces competition mainly from sister models within the Volkswagen group such as the VW Polo Variant and the Seat Cordoba Vario, both of which still use the current Polo platform.
But Skoda denies any interbrand rivalry and says it will target the Fiat Palio Weekend and the Peugeot 306 Break with the Fabia Combi.
Martina Goeres contributed