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Skoda's new compact sedan, the Rapid, has been caught naked on the Nurburgring with testers pushing the car to the limit. The crucial new model will slot into the Czech automaker's global portfolio between the Fabia and Octavia, and will play a lead role in its ambitious plans to almost double global sales by 2018. Based on the MissionL design concept and looking like a downsized Octavia, the car is expected to compete against the likes of the Mazda3 and Ford Focus. It is likely that the car will be built on a stretched Volkswagen Polo underpinnings rather than the larger Golf platform. You may ask if the Rapid will cannibalize on the sales of the Octavia. That is the question on my mind too. According to Matthew Wiesner, Director of Skoda Australia, the company planned to grow the Octavia into a true medium-size car to better take on the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat. But does that mean Skoda will upsize the Superb or do away with the nameplate? No one has that answer now. The new Rapid will be revealed this summer with its world premiere to take place at the 2012 Paris Motor Show in September before it goes on sale across Europe this fall. Other parts of the world would get it in 2013. Expect the car to be powered by a range of 1.2-litre to 1.4-litre TSI engines with DSG transmission. MissionL Concept