New small Skoda electric SUV is imagined ahead of its official unveiling.
Skoda will introduce a new design language for its vehicles this year – and it has given a sneak peek at how the look could apply to an electric SUV.
At the Czech brand’s annual press conference, outgoing CEO Thomas Schäfer reported a tough second half of 2021, as the global semiconductor crisis hit Skoda’s manufacturing. But the firm still reported an improved margin on sales of 6.1 per cent, and made over a billion Euros of profit – up from 756m Euros (AUD$1.16bn) in 2020.
Schäfer revealed that Skoda is targeting further modernisation of its brand in 2022, and said that a new design language – labelled ‘Modern Solid’ – will be at the heart of it. “You will see a ‘wow’ moment for our competitors and our customers,” he said.
The speech was accompanied by a slide showing a mostly blurred image of an SUV – but with the front area of the car left in focus, revealing that it has a flush grille typical of an electric vehicle. It is likely that the model concerned is a concept designed to preview the new design language, but the Czech company also has a history of not issuing any show cars that do not closely represent final production models.
It’s hard to judge the scale of the vehicle in the teaser, but our exclusive image interprets elements like wheel size and wheelbase to show a vehicle measuring around 4.5 metres long – shorter than Skoda’s current EV, the Enyaq, but longer than the likes of VW’s ID.3 hatchback.
Schäfer reiterated during his conference remarks that his team already has “three more EVs smaller than Enyaq” lined up – although at least one of these is thought to be a much smaller car, based on the cheaper MEB Entry platform and not likely to appear before 2025 or even 2026.
He said that the launch of the new language – presumably based around the car in the teaser image – is scheduled for September, and acknowledged to Automotive Daily that the fresh approach is geared towards EVs. “We’ll bring it in first with the electric vehicles,” he said. “That will be the focus. We might then phase it onto other vehicles, but in the second half of the decade, there’s not too much coming on the ICE [combustion-engined] side anyway.”
Schäfer also revealed that the next generation of Skoda’s Kodiaq SUV, due in 2024, could be in line for a plug-in hybrid powertrain, despite him having ruled out the prospect as recently as last year. “We keep looking at it,” he acknowledged. “The outlook in the EU really doesn’t help, because plug-in hybrids won’t be supported in the future. It’s immense cost to bring it to the vehicle if there’s then no market for it.”
He added, “The technology is available in the group, and the platform is available. We just had the facelifted Kodiaq last year so we would still have the time to decide if we go for it on the next car.”