We showed the strength and ability to innovate

As chief designer at Škoda Auto, Jens Manske brought  into the world the new Fabia Combi, the forthcoming Yeti model and the second generation of the Superb, which had its world premiere at this year’s Geneva auto show.

From your viewpoint, how was the reception of the new Superb at the company evening before the start of this year’s Geneva Motor Show?
The meeting meant a lot to me, because at it we presented the car to the whole group. Its strength, dynamism and ability to innovate. The whole pallet of VW group models was presented at the evening, from the Caddy Maxi to the new Superb, to the Bugatti Veyron, so I think it also impressed the reporters present.

This year’s show in Geneva was a symbolic place for you to say goodbye as head designer, not only to the Škoda brand, but also to the new Superb, which is also one of your “children.” The Twindoor system is attracting a lot of admiration, journalists agree that the new Superb is really completely different to its predecessor…
Primarily, I’d like to say that when I see visitors at our exhibition, many of them that see the new Superb for the first time are evidently surprised or even amazed that it is a Škoda. The new Superb is the brand’s flagship, as was its predecessor. Now, however, it is a really independent, original car, with its own design concept and an individual appearance.

And what I am seeing in people’s reactions is the fact that the new Superb significantly contributes to improving the image of the Škoda brand. When I summarise the reactions, in the new model people see the typical benefits of the Škoda brand, such as the generous amount of inner space, various clever solutions such as the Twindoor system, typical design elements such as, for example, the whole front of the car with a chrome mask and the rear lights with a typical “C” effect.

At some point we should see versions such as the combi and 4x4. In your opinion, will these Superb variants be successful as well?
I think that the 4x4 will be very successful. Such a car is “predetermined for success” in countries like Switzerland, Italy or Austria. But certainly also in Eastern European countries, in particular where there are harder winters.

As far as concerns the combi, it is known that we are a sort of traditional “combi” company. We have the Fabia Combi, the Octavia Combi, and so I think it is sensible and natural that there will be a combi version of the Superb.

The Yeti is another of your “children” that has long been awaited by the public and professionals. How do you see its chances of success given the difficult competition, which will certainly increase before the time it is marketed?
I am personally very proud of the Yeti, because it is an individual car. I’m proud of it in particular because it doesn’t follow the main trend in SUV category cars, which try to have a certain hardness and toughness, but it’s a sort of crossover that has a certain charisma to it. In any case, it will greatly expand the brand’s model pallet and ensure that Škoda is represented in this segment. And, if it is exhibited in Geneva next year, I will personally look forward to it a lot.

  At the group meeting on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, the new Škoda Superb certainly didn’t get lost among the new products from the VW group’s other brands.