Skoda targeting fleet, family drivers with the new Superb
It has always been the big-for-money family car. Now Skoda are looking to add another string to the Superb's bow - by enticing fleet customers.
The car was officially unveiled here on Monday. I've driven it abroad and reviewed it for you here already so I won't go over the same ground. Suffice to say it is a significantly better car than the old one - there is general agreement on that.
I took a quick spin in the 1.6-litre diesel (120bhp, up 15bhp) which will, in Ambition trim, be the big seller. With four of us on board we braved the July downpour in Co Kildare. It was an impressive piece of work. No doubt the 75kg in weight loss (for the new car over the old one, not the four occupants) plays a key role in cutting fuel consumption and emissions. By the way 75kg is nearly the same weight as Real Madrid's Ronaldo (79kg), Skoda tell us.
They hope the much improved cabin, handling, styling, the extra room (it's wider and the longer wheelbase creates huge rear-seat room; and there's a 625-litre boot) will help attract far more fleet drivers.
Oh, and it is now, officially, a hatchback (or Liftback as Skoda cll it). No longer is it a saloon/hatchback (an ingenious hinge device permitted either/or but costs have forced a decision on just the one format).
Interesting too, that while they deny any targeting of larger, and more expensive, posh cars such as the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-Class, they admit that some of those executive brands have been traded in against the Superb.
However, fleet buyers are key - as well as existing family owners - to getting the marque into the Top Five sellers here. How would that have sounded 10 or 15 years ago? Globally sales topped one million last year and the target is to sell 1.5m by 2018.
Prices for the new Superb start from €26,795, with the 1.6-litre diesel kicking off at €27,795.
Full Irish review to follow soon.