Things really got cracking for Skoda in 1996 with the Octavia. Volkswagen, the company’s owner, had been fooling around with the distinguished Czech marque for five years. It reskinned the Favorit hatchback as the 1994 Felicia, which did well, but by mid-decade VW boss Ferdinand Piech had investments and people in place for a second model and new design boss Dirk van Braeckel was busy at the drawing board.
This was VW at its pomp, brimming with such confidence that Piech allowed a second life for Skoda’s cherished Octavia name on a four-door hatchback based on the fourth-generation Golf.
Skoda built almost 400,000 of the original Octavia between 1959 and 1971. The name’s second generation did even better. In 1997, its first year on sale, the Octavia represented 16 per cent of total Skoda production, 40 per cent by 1998 and by 2000 it was the best-selling Skoda model.?
With a few blips, that’s the way it’s stayed, with 2018 sales of 388,200 from factories in Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic, as well as in India, Russia and China.
女大学生的沙龙:From simplicity to serious ability
Though it looked slightly gawky over the relatively short Golf Mk4 platform, the 1996 Octavia tapped into a market for no-frills, reliable simplicity from the increasingly wealthy middle classes in Eastern Europe and Russia, but also from Britain – particularly among young families and older folk. The trouble is, as romantic French artist Eugène Delacroix once pointed out: “A taste for simplicity cannot last for long.”?