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The Mercury Cars Guide : March 28th 2009
12— CARSguide Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, March 28, 2009 Skoda sets sights on top end M ORE people would buy a Sko- da if they could trust the brand. It’s not really a surprise because Skoda is, despite its place in the giant Volkswagen Group, an unproven new- comer in Australia. The Czech carmaker has actually been around for more than 50 years, and had its last big sale surge downunder in the early fifties, but is battling to find its followers in 2009. Which explains a total re- think on its hero car — the family-focussed Octavia - and a new price point for the new year. A $3000 price cut and a stronger emphasis on quality are the driving forces for the updated Skoda Octavia. Skoda has also changed the engine direction on its starter car, trading a turbodiesel for a high-tech petrol-powered Oc- tavia as it cuts the entry level from $29,990 to $26,990. But it is only a 1.6-litre four. The new price leader still comes extremely well equipped, with everything from aircon and alloys to power steering andCD sound, but it’s a value push which mustalsorunupagainstsome heavy hitters including the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Mitsubishi Magna. Skoda says its trump card, at least with people who are prepared to put it on the shopping list, isapackage that is virtually the same as a Volkswagen Golf but with much better value. There is anewhero car, too, at least until the Octavia RS gets a similar makeover to the shopping cars in the second half of the year. It is a 1.8-litre TSI with turbocharging and direct-fuel injection. Skoda is actually running against the sales trend in 2009, improving its year-over-year SMART AND SLEEK: Skoda Octavia engine, left, and interior, right. results by about 7.5 per cent. The Octavia is making the running, although the Room- ster is also in the mix and there are evolving plans for the luxury Superb and the compact Fabia further into the future. ‘‘It’s simple, it’s honest, it drives well,’’ head of Skoda in Australia, Matthew Wiesner, says. ‘‘The Octavia is still a medium-sized car, but with this price we’re driving down into the top end of the small- car market.’’ He admits Skoda has done better with its higher-priced niche cars, particularly the Octavia RS, but needs to con- vert more customers to create the critical mass essential to success. Even so, he is not about to get into predictions. ‘‘Wouldwehave liked to sell more cars last year? Yes. Definitely. But we had to try a few things, we had to test the market.’’ ‘‘Now we are moving to the next level.’’ Euro carmaker Skoda has struggled to make an impact on the Australian market. But with the Octavia, the Czechs hopes to change all that. Paul Gover reports BEAT THE 31 MARCH PRICE RISE. NEW RENAULT KOLEOS FROM $29,990* Order now for the best deal on a Koleos. 2.5L petrol engine 6-speed manual ESP + 6 Airbags Auto lights and wipers 17" Alloy wheels Dual zone climate control Cruise control with speed limiter ABS (with Electronic Brake Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist) Metallic paint shown available at extra $800 For this great price, hurry to your nearest Renault dealer. For more information visit renault.com.au *RRP for 4x2 petrol Dynamique 6-speed manual plus $975.00 stamp duty, $1,695.00 dealer delivery, $538.00 registration and compulsory third party insurance. REN1501/HM CAPITOL MOTORS 221 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, Tasmania Tel: 03 6234 7799 Fax: 03 6234 9182.
March 21st 2009
April 4th 2009