Sunday 25 June 2017

Clear on Octavia; New dealers; Seven from Opel in a year; E-Class coupe is on the way

Skoda Octavia
Skoda Octavia

I think there is a bit of confusion out there about the 'new' Skoda Octavia judging from calls from readers.

I hope this helps: the current version is quite new in terms of updates, engine additions etc, but what Skoda have been talking about for a couple of weeks now is the facelifted version that is, I'm told, due in Ireland from late March.

* Still on Skoda, our best wishes to all at George Corbett Motors which has been appointed sales and aftersales dealer for the brand in Waterford.

It's an outlet you'd see if you were on the Cork Road in Waterford and has been redeveloped over the past while to accommodate the expanding range of Skodas.

Importantly, the expansion and Skoda's arrival is expected to lead to as many as 10 new jobs over the next year in sales, aftersales and administration. Now that's really good news.

* Seven new or replacement models in a year is serious going, but that's what Opel are planning on doing.

It will be the biggest "product offensive" in their history.

I've already driven one of the seven, albeit in prototype guise. It was the inappropriately named Insignia Grand Sport hatchback (why not leave it as Insignia?). The hatch will be officially shown in early December.

There will also be a station wagon and a Country Tourer all-wheel-drive version. They will debut at the Geneva auto show in March and are likely in the second half of 2017.

Others to look forward to include the Meriva replacement called the Crossland X crossover which is due here mid-summer 2017.

It will join the Mokka X in the small SUV sector though it will be less in-your-face crossover. (Sorry to see Meriva go; it was a lovely little bus).

The Crossland X shares its platform with the next Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C3 Picasso and will be built in Zaragoza, Spain.

The Zafira people carrier will get a compact crossover companion. No name yet. It will be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show next September. Effectively a sibling of the new Peugeot 3008 SUV - reviewed here recently - it will be built by PSA in France. The Zafira remains as there is decent demand for seven-seaters.

A new variant of Opel's Vivaro large van is also coming.

As with the Mokka, the letter X in the name will denote SUV or crossover status.

But we are unlikely to see the Ampera-e battery powered car here though it gets to European dealerships in May. That's due to the cost of making it in righthand drive for here and the UK. It has a large 60 kWh lithium ion battery pack and a range of 500km+.

* More best wishes to Monaghan & Sons, Tuam Road, Galway who have joined the 22-strong SEAT dealer network. It will, we're told, become the 'new home of SEAT' in Galway.

* Mercedes will reveal their E-Class Coupe at the Detroit motor show in January. It goes on sale next spring. Reports say it will be a keen rival for the BMW 6 Series and Audi A5 (prices announced last week here).

Following the coupe will be a Cabriolet - also due on sale next year.

* Give us your thoughts and opinions: ecunningham @independent.ie

@ecunninghamcars

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