The Volkswagen Group is gearing up to introduce a new generation of hybrid hot hatches, starting in 2020. A new Skoda Fabia vRS will also be a part of the electrified fast-hatch line-up.
Sources suggest that the VW Group’s technical and marketing teams see the new petrol-electric range as a bridge towards complete electrification.
Making these vehicles fun-to-drive and appealing to car enthusiasts, with technology that highlights the advantages of electrification, is part of VW’s plan to sell a million all-electric models by 2025. They also plan to have 30 EV models on sale by then.
“We are not just flicking a switch and expecting people to move to fully electric cars – it is a process that will take decades, and we must help take people step by step through the transition by showing what the possibilities are,” said a source to our sister publication Autocar UK.
Rather than creating a separate sub-brand for this new range of hot hatches, the VW Group is expected to use its current brands’ performance arms (Cupra for Seat and vRS for Skoda) to introduce these cars.
Cupra is said to be heading towards becoming a standalone performance arm in 2018, which will coincide with the launch of the Ateca Cupra SUV. The arrival of an electrified Fabia vRS could give Skoda a chance to follow suit.
“The Fabia vRS was a lot of fun and I would love to be able to offer such a car today, but it is not going to be manageable for the next two to three years,” said Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier to Autocar UK.
“For the next generation of Fabia, there could be an alternative – we could look at the opportunities a bit differently.” Asked if this meant electrification, Maier replied: “That would make sense, yes.” However, details concerning the powertrain are scarce.
Skoda currently has the Octavia vRS (also sold in India) in its performance line-up and intends to introduce a vRS version of its new Karoq SUV in international markets. It seems that a standard hot hatch isn’t as crucial to the vRS brand, but an electrified one is important enough to warrant attention.