One of the most successful model series in the automotive world made its debut 20 years ago. In 1996, Skoda Auto presented its Octavia saloon for the first time to international media representatives. Over the following two decades, the Octavia became a worldwide hit and is still the traditional Czech automaker’s best-selling model. The vehicle has been instrumental in the successful development of the Skoda brand.
The Skoda Octavia is celebrating an important milestone with impressive interim results. In the 20 years since the debut of the first Skoda Octavia, five million customers around the world have opted for one of the various Octavia models offered. Its combination of above-average space, modern engines and safety features at an attractive price was to be the inspiration for all the brand’s later models.
Approximately one year after the Czech brand had joined the Volkswagen Group in 1991, the development of the completely new Skoda Octavia model series was underway. This was based on what was then an entirely new platform, developed at Group level in parallel with the conception of the Octavia. The engineers constructed a robust body structure with the help of modern CAD (Computer Aided Design) technology, while the Skoda design team created a timeless and unmistakable body shape, at the Skoda development centre in Mlada Boleslavled by Chief Designer Dirk van Braeckel.
The developers paid close attention to active and passive safety. In addition to front airbags, the brand offered side airbags for the first time. A special feature of the new compact was the practical liftback solution. The large rear door of the hatchback model allowed for excellent access to the 528-litre boot, which grew to as much as 1,328 litres by folding the rear seats down.
In 1996, the year the model was first released, customers could choose between two four-cylinder petrol engines and one turbo diesel drivetrain. The entry-level engine was the 1.6 MPI with 75 hp, the 1.8 20 V positioned above that brought it to 125 hp and the modern turbo diesel direct-injection 1.9 TDI generated an output of 90 hp, giving an average fuel consumption of over 55mpg. Skoda gradually expanded its engine range to include the particularly economical 1.9 SDI with 68 hp and the 1.8 20 V turbo with 150 hp.
The first Octavia Estate celebrated its world premiere in March 1998 and quickly became a bestseller, particularly in Europe. In 1999 a four-wheel drive Octavia Estate made its debut.
The Octavia/Octavia Estate name refers to the successful model of the same designation, of which Skoda produced approximately 364,000 units between 1959 and 1964 in Mlada Boleslav and Kvasiny. The Latin word ‘octavia’ means ‘the eighth’, relating to Skoda’s eighth automobile of the ‘modern era’ with independent suspension following the debut of this technology in 1933.
For the new Octavia series, Skoda built a new production line in a 37,500-square-metre hall at the Mlada Boleslav plant, followed by a new paint shop processing up to 1,800 vehicles per day. The new production line commenced operations on April 3, 1996. The capacity of the main plant increased by 90,000 units to 350,000 vehicles annually and Skoda became the largest industrial company in the Czech Republic.
The last vehicle of the first series eventually rolled off Vrchlabi’s production line in November 2010. From 1996 to 2010, Skoda delivered a total of 970,000 hatchbacks and over 470,000 estates to customers worldwide.
The second-generation Octavia continued unabated the success of its predecessor. Skoda sold a total of 1.6 million hatchbacks and 900,000 estates between 2004 and 2013. Technologies, such as direct-injection petrol engines, and the directshift gearbox (DSG) made their debut in the Octavia II.
The third-generation Octavia, an important cornerstone of Skoda’s model range, has been running off the production lines since November 2012. At the end of March 2016, the one millionth vehicle of this model generation was produced at Skoda’s main production facility in Mlada Boleslav.
The traditional Czech brand has manufactured a total of five million Octavias since the Skoda Octavia was first launched in 1996. In addition to Mlada Boleslav, the Skoda Octavia is also produced in China, India, Russia and Kazakhstan.
Skoda Car Features
Skodas rich sporting and performance history reaches a historic milestone in 2016 with the 15th anniversary of the vRS brand in UK. Since the first Octavia vRS arrived in showrooms back in 2001, Skoda has continually developed the vRS range; adding more power, performance and excitement to cars wearing the famous three letter badge.
One of the most successful model series in the automotive world made its debut 20 years ago. In 1996, Skoda Auto presented its Octavia saloon for the first time to international media representatives. Over the following two decades, the Octavia became a worldwide hit and is still the traditional Czech automakers best-selling model. The vehicle has been instrumental in the successful development of the Skoda brand.
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