► Up to four new Skoda SUVs
► Tiguan-based crossover first
► Coupes, baby 4x4s and more
Skoda is preparing a flood of SUVs as it belatedly plays catch-up with the big industry trends towards crossovers and 4x4s. Top brass are confident the new slew of models will chime with Skoda's core values of family-friendly practicality and great value for money.
SUV #1: a Tiguan-based crossover
First up is an SUV unashamedly borrowing the MQB running gear of the new VW Tiguan, unveiled at this week's Frankfurt motor show. It's a 4.7m-long 4x4 ushering in a new wardrobe for Skoda - with slimline, narrower and split headlamps and a tip-toe tall stance.
Crucially, it'll be available as a seven-seater with an optional third row of seats and Skoda promises plenty of 'Simply Clever' touches to ease family life (think the Superb's umbrellas built into the doors). See this car in late 2016, with UK sales pledged for early 2017.
SUV #2: an X4-rivalling coupe mash-up!
In a shock move, Skoda has designed a more sporting coupe-SUV based off its Tiguan-apeing crossover, with a dramatically sloping roofline and space for just five bodies.
It's researching its launch primarily for China, but admits it could be sold in Europe and the rest of the world if response is strong enough. The question is: is the world ready for a souped-up, gangsta-spec Skoda coupe-cum-mud-plugger? If it passes board approval, expect to see this in 2018.
SUV #3: the Yeti takes a character bypass
Sad news to report: the charismatic Yeti, a Tonka toy in Czech clothing, is being dumped in favour of a more vanilla SUV, styled as a baby brother to the bigger family SUV detailed above. The two share tech, parts and a remarkably high degree of style.
Why lose the Yeti DNA? Because the Yeti proved too divisive, especially in Asia, ironically. Skoda sells only around 8000 a year in the - less than a fifth of the market-leading Nissan Qashqai. Go figure. See the new Yeti in 2018.
SUV #4: a baby rival to the Nissan Juke set
No surprises for guessing the next instalment. It's a junior crossover to match the Juke et al and would draw from sister SUVs lined up from Volkswagen and Seat.
This car is still in the planning phase and yet to be green-lighted, but styling sketches indicate it'll be more adventurous than the family-oriented Skoda SUVs. And while they'll all offer 4wd, it'll be front-drive only. This final crossover addition wouldn't be viable until the end of the decade.
Why Skoda's gatecrashing the SUV party
All analysts agree that global demand for SUVs continues unabated. In the UK, 80% of the growth in recent years has come from the SUV sector. And that's irresistible for the major car making groups, eager to keep their factories busy and growth charts positive.