2013 Skoda Rapid - front three-quarter view - live from 2012 Paris Motor Show

Czech automaker Škoda has splashed down at this week's Paris Motor Show with its new Rapid sedan. The 2013 Rapid may bear a brand-specific front end, but the rest of the car isn't a far leap from its Volkswagen Jetta roots. We think that's a good thing, though perhaps the best instantiation of this corporate model is the new Toledo from Seat? We'll let the Europeans fight that one out.

The Rapid will serve as an entry point into the larger Volkswagen corporate universe for many buyers, offering a value-laden vehicle that is slightly less upscale than its German and Spanish counterparts. The Rapid will be served up with no fewer than five engine choices at launch: a pair of diesels and three different petrol-engined cars will fill out the roster.

Curiously, the Czech automaker already markets a very different model under the Rapid banner, a smaller VW Polo-derived model sold in India.
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ŠKODA RAPID – THE NEW CLASS OF ŠKODA

- The new ŠKODA Rapid – Room in its most beautiful shape
- First ŠKODA to feature brand's new design: clear, precise, fresh, timeless and elegant
- The new benchmark for roominess in the compact class
- ŠKODA Rapid sits between the Fabia and the Octavia
- Salon debut in Paris 2012 - Market launch in Europe from late 2012

Mladá Boleslav, June 19th, 2012 - ŠKODA is resolutely pursuing its model offensive, presenting its new compact saloon, the ŠKODA Rapid, just a few months after the introduction of the ŠKODA Citigo subcompact. The brand's most recent addition is to play a central role in the company's growth strategy and will be phased in on European markets from the autumn of 2012.

The ŠKODA Rapid impresses with lots of room, an expressive design, an excellent price-value ratio, a comprehensive safety offering and efficient engines. "This is a model which sets benchmarks in the compact saloon segment: The ŠKODA Rapid is a roomy, elegant and at the same time an affordable car for the whole family, impressing with clever solutions, cutting-edge technology and high economy. In short, it is a car permitting mobility in a comfortable, reasonably priced and environmentally friendly package. The right car at the right time," says ŠKODA CEO Winfried Vahland.

The Rapid is a perfect complement of the model palette, sits between the ŠKODA Fabia and the ŠKODA Octavia, making it at home in the large-volume compact segment. This so-called A segment currently accounts for about 36 per cent of the world's automobile market. Within this class, saloons have a share of around 42 per cent. Industry experts estimate the number of cars of this type sold worldwide will rise by about 50 per cent by the year 2020.

ŠKODA's Rapid first to show complete new design
The Rapid is the first ŠKODA series car ever to fully feature the brand's newly formulated design language. "This is a car that gives out a clear statement at first glance: clear, precise, fresh and emotional," says Eckhard Scholz, ŠKODA board member for technical development.

Perfect proportions, clear and cleanly modelled surfaces and sharply drawn lines combine to create an attractive overall appearance. The front end displays a new take on ŠKODA-typical design elements. The new brand logo confidently stands out on the harmonically rounded front edge of the bonnet. The grille shows a finely drawn chrome frame and is formed by vertical slats. The headlight ensemble is grouped at the front of the ŠKODA Rapid to form a cloverleaf shape.

The body's side also conveys pure emotion though a long wheelbase and a coupé-like silhouette, but also thanks to a precise and sharp tornado line creating a clear division of light and shadow. At the rear, the car's large tailgate is not merely functional, but also acts as a design element. In addition, distinctly shaped taillights in the brand's typical C shape and the new brand logo all combine to make the ŠKODA Rapid unmistakable.

ŠKODA's latest offspring impresses with a surprising amount of space despite compact exterior dimensions (4.48 metres in length, 1.7 metres in width). This clever compact saloon provides room for five occupants and their baggage and, this being a ŠKODA, the brand's signature clever solutions and excellent price-value ratio as well as comprehensive safety equipment. Five petrol and two diesel engines are on offer as powerplants. ŠKODA's newest creation will be on public display for the first time at the Paris Auto Salon. ŠKODA is aiming the Rapid especially at families looking for a roomy first car at an affordable price in ŠKODA's familiar quality.