Skoda will strive 'to be different'

* Skodas should be free of 'decoration' * says car maker's design boss * Its version of VW Up concept coming...

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What Car? Staff
18 April 2011

Skoda will continue to try to be different as it expands its model range and doubles production capacity, says design chief Jozef Kaban.

If you do what everybody else does you lose right at the beginning, so I am trying my best to keep Skoda different, he said. He who does not take risks does not win.

Mr Kaban, the man responsible for the exterior of the Bugatti Veyron, has been at Skoda since 2008 and showed some clues to his ideas for Skoda with the Vision D concept car that was revealed at the Geneva motor show in March.

Vision D a Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback is not intended for production. It is only a small example of what we can do, says Kaban, but to make it as it is would be too simple.

Stripping away the decoration
He believes Skodas should be recognisable, rational and free of unnecessary decoration that ultimately costs customers money. Many cars try too hard to impress. The designers didnt make it with the basic car, so they had to decorate it, like Christmas, he says.

However, that does not mean Skodas can't be exciting, he says. One thing I hope I will be allowed to keep is maximum character, he adds. Things such as the two-tier roof and the disguised pillars in the Roomster and Yeti are the kind of features he would like to preserve.

New car coming
His ideas for the new design direction at Skoda will come to fruition in the middle of next year when the company launches a sub-supermini based on the Volkswagen Up concept.

Volkswagen and Seat will also have versions of the car.

Kaban says they will differ much more than the Citroen C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo, while sharing as many components as possible to keep costs down. It wont be the cheapest on the market but will have maximum quality, he says.

The car will feature the new Skoda family grille hinted at by Vision D and will try to pull customers a little more towards design while remaining rational and functional.

I want to make cars that are attractive but not mode-ish, say Kaban. I want them to survive for a long period and still remain attractive, so that the customer is not losing money after only two years.