"Giving the off-roader a fresh sparkle"
GIVING THE OFF-ROADER A FRESH SPARKLE
ŠKODA enters with the all-new KODIAQ the large Sport Utility Vehicle segment. It's time to take stock: Why is the SUV market booming? And where is it going?
About nine years after the market launch of the OCTAVIA Combi Scout, seven years after the YETI debuted and a good six months after presenting the VISIONS concept car, ŠKODA has just introduced a new, and unexpected SUV: the KODIAQ, named after a species of bear that lives on an island off the coast of Alaska. The announcement provides a good opportunity to take a closer look at the SUV phenomenon.
First the figures. According to a survey conducted by the automotive market research company JATO Dynamics, the number of new SUV registrations reached 3.2 million in Europe alone in 2015. Compared to 2014, that is an increase of 24 percent and represents a jump to a whopping 22.5 percent of overall share of the European vehicle market. That means that SUVs have become the most successful segment for the first time, just ahead of the subcompacts, and far ahead of the compact-class cars.
The SUV has, now that it's 2016, long since carved out a place of its own in society. As a family car, an elegant urban vehicle, a symbol of unlimited personal driving pleasure. Sometimes it is all of this at once. "In a sense, the compact SUV is the Swiss knife of cars," says Lutz Fügener, Professor of Transportation Design at the Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences. "People who drive it have the feeling of being able to do everything, of being prepared for practically anything."
"Car drivers today consider themselves less as members of a community - and more as a collection of individuals. From this perspective, driving an SUV it is also a conscious, image-creating statement to the outside world."
"I can drive an SUV to a prestigious business appointment, could, theoretically, go into battle and still take the kids to school safely" - as transport sociologist Christian Lasse Mevert so trenchantly summarised in an interview with the German news service Spiegel Online.
After the highly successful compact model, the YETI, ŠKODA is now getting ready for the first step into the business of big SUVs. At 4.7 meters in length, 1.88 meters in width and 1.68 meters in height, the KODIAQ is, on the one hand, distinctly larger than other cars in the compact car segment and has room for seven occupants. At the same time the muscular and dynamic lines radiate a robust elegance that distinguishes it markedly from the more bulky, boxy form usually found in this vehicle segment - often a mere reminder of past eras of off-road-only driving.
"The KODIAQ will make a statement," Haak announces. "Just like a SUPERB limousine makes a statement today. ŠKODA stands for confident design."
WE WANTED A HIGHLY EMOTIONAL, SPORTY, EXCEPTIONALLY WELL-DESIGNED PRODUCT.
The KODIAQ can now build on the popularity, success and solid reputation that its little brother has earned in the off-roader class. The next level is kicking off: This vehicle will allow ŠKODA to reach a new customer base; ones who may potentially be taking a more intense interest in the brand for the first time.