The Octavia, Škoda’s best-selling these days, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year – the production of the first car launched under this brand name, the successor to the Škoda 440 also known as ‘Spartak’, started in January 1959.
‘Our new vehicle has a new name, too – it is called Škoda Octavia, as it is the eighth model produced by our nationalised industry,’ says the issue of the company magazine Ventil released on January 6, 1959.
The then existing numerical identifications were replaced by verbal ones – the Škoda 440 became the Octavia, the Škoda 445 was renamed to the Octavia Super and the Škoda 450 was called the Felicia from then on. However, the change involved more than just the names and minor adaptations to the vehicle’s front mask. Škoda designers also redesigned the front axles of all Škoda passenger cars in 1959 – the old leaf spring was replaced by a coil spring with telescopic shock absorbers, which was indeed a major change. ‘Coil springs were also meant to be used for the rear axle, but did not prove to be a good solution, and so the Company stuck to the leaf springs in the end,’ adds Lukáš Nachtmann, Head of the Škoda Auto Archive.
The name was resurrected after 1989, and the Octavia model line became the first car developed internally after Škoda’s becoming part of the VW Group. The first prearrangements and the first concept car were made in 1992. The vehicle was launched in 1996, its estate version (Combi) was introduced two years after that, the 4×4 version was added later on.
The year 2000 saw a new, modernised version that is still manufactured under the name Octavia Tour. In February 2004 the Company launched the second-generation Škoda Octavia that was then facelifted in 2008.
The Czech Republic’s biggest car manufacturer has sold over 2 million Škoda Octavias worldwide so far, and currently offers a wide range of versions, including the Škoda Octavia RS (sports car) and the Scout (leisure-time).
Source – Skoda
ŠKODA AUTO’S SALES GREW BY 7.1 % LAST YEAR
Compared with 2007, Škoda Auto’s total sales grew by 7.1 % and reached 674,530 vehicles, a new record in the history of the Czech Republic’s largest car manufacturer. Considering the impact of the financial crisis in the second half of 2008, this is an excellent result. The Company’s sales grew primarily thanks to the markets in China and Eastern Europe. However, even the West European markets are not unsuccessful – although the overall passenger car market slumped by 8.4%, the brand’s share in this region grew to 2.3 %.
Škoda Auto’s sales in Eastern Europe grew by 30.1 % and reached 123,630 vehicles – the most dynamically growing market in 2008 was Russia, where the Company sold 50,733 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 84.2%.
The Czech Republic’s largest car manufacturer delivered altogether 59,284 vehicles to China in 2008, 117 % more than in 2007. A further 16,051 were delivered to customers in India, 31.9% more than over the previous year.
Germany remains Škoda Auto’s strongest market in Western Europe. The Company increased its market share to 3.9% in 2008, despite the 1.8% overall passenger car market slump. German customers registered 121,277 vehicles in 2008, 2% more than in 2007.
With 344,857 vehicles sold last year in total, i.e., 11.3% more than in 2007, the Octavia (Octavia a Octavia Tour) was Škoda’s best selling model also in 2008. The runner-up in terms of sales volumes is the Škoda Fabia (246,561 vehicles worldwide, + 5.9 %), the vehicle with the biggest percentage growth was the new-generation Škoda Superb (+ 24.9 %, 25,645 vehicles in total). In addition, the Company sold 57,467 Roomsters.
‘Despite the current difficulties, we have managed to keep positive sales trends in some of our markets. We are going to continue monitoring Russia, China and India. Although the future sales trends are difficult to estimate now, we believe that the demand for small vehicles such as the Škoda Fabia will grow worldwide, as this category offers financial savings and is in line with the growing environmental awareness. We also hope that our new models to be launched in 2009 will be a success,’ said Fred Kappler, Škoda Auto BOD Member responsible for sales.
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Source: Skoda Press Release