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Superb axe claim isn't true - Skoda

Skoda has rushed out a letter to its UK dealers rubbishing a press report that the new flagship Superb will be killed off in 2005. Volkswagen Group boss Bernd Pischetsrieder was last week quoted as saying the Superb would be one of six group models to get the chop, but Skoda UK strongly denies the report.

“We are planning the long-term future of this car. Any decision to drop the Superb after just three years would be ludicrous,” adds a Skoda spokeswoman.

Pischetsrieder was quoted in German magazine Auto motor und sport, saying he planned to axe the Superb, and not replace the VW Beetle, Seat Alhambra, VW Lupo, Seat Arosa and Audi A2. He wants to stamp his authority on the model line-up and re-establish the individuality of VW's brands.

But Alan Pulham, director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation's franchised dealer division, claims Skoda would have to consider compensating dealers if the Superb dies.

“It makes sense to prepare for some level of expense for such things,” he says. “If a dealer makes a tangible investment for a new car, then he is going to expect that car over a certain period of time - say 10 years. If the car is dropped so early, there should be compensation.

“Some dealers have already been bullied into building new showrooms for the Superb. Many are small operators without the backing of a major retail group, who have held the Skoda franchise for many years. They cannot afford to absorb such costs.”

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