Škoda Auto’s topselling Octavia model celebrates 25th anniversary
Czech car manufacturer Škoda Auto started rolling out its most successful model to date, the Octavia, exactly 25 years ago, at its factory in Mladá Boleslav, overhauled to be among the most modern in the whole of Europe.
The Škoda Octavia was christened on Prague’s Old Town Square. It was the brand’s first development under the direction of its German parent company, the Volkswagen Group.
Since then, approximately 7 million have been sold, not just across the continent but throughout the world.
Development of the first lower-middle Škoda model began in 1992, roughly a year after the Czech carmaker was incorporated into the VW Group.
The new PQ34 Group chassis served as the basis, which in addition to the Octavia was also used in vehicles of two sister brands (Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3). The same was true for engines, transmissions, seats and other vehicle elements.
On the other hand, the design of the body, which the Belgian Dirk van Braeckel and his team created, was new and unique to the Czech-produced Octavia. The name itself was not entirely new, as Škoda Auto had made a successful model under the name from 1959 to 1964.
The Latin word ‘octavia’ means ‘the eighth’. The newcomer was the brand’s eighth model after the Second World War and also the eighth Škoda model with all-around independent suspension since the carmaker introduced the concept in 1933.
The ‘‘original Octavia” was also in great demand beyond the borders of the former Czechoslovakia, contributing tomany successes in the 120-year history of Škoda motorsport, including the class victory hat-trick at the Monte Carlo Rally from 1961 to 1963, the Škoda Octavia’s class victory in the 4,000-mile race from Montreal to Vancouver in Canada in 1962, and at the Shell 4000 Rally in 1963.
Series production in Mladá Boleslav of the modern Škoda Octavia began on September 3, 1996. A completely new, modern production line was put into operation for this purpose.
The Octavia model is characterised by a high level of both active and passive safety. Among other things, front airbags were supplemented by side airbags.
In the first year of production, the variations came off the production line with two four-cylinder petrol engines and a turbo diesel. In 1997, the station wagon version caused a sensation at the Frankfurt Motor Show.