The Skoda Octavia is the successor to the very popular model with the same name, several versions of which will remain in production for some time alongside the new Octavia. The Octavia took its name from Skoda’s rich history with the first Skoda Octavia presented to the public in 1959. It was a new version of the Skoda 440 (also called the Spartak), that was manufactured until that time. The original Skoda Octavia was manufactured from 1959 until 1964, when it was replaced by the new Skoda 1000 MB. A total of 365,000 Octavias were produced from 1959 to 1971.
The next version of the Skoda Octavia was introduced in 1996 and was a significant milestone in the modern history of Skoda. It represented a new image and expression of the brand and, at the same time, clearly identified its future orientation and goals. In addition to the hatchback body, an estate version was also built, beginning in 1998. The Octavia range underwent a facelift in 2000, followed in 2001 by the introductions of the rugged Octavia 4x4 and the sporty Octavia vRS. Octavia has become known to the public as a reliable, solid and valuable car. With its outstanding qualities, it has been very popular amongst motorists and appreciated by critics. Its success is reflected by its records- it was the first Skoda model to reach the one million production level, in February 2004. UK sales have totaled over 60,000 since the launch here in 1998. The Skoda Octavia has contributed to a revolutionary change in the public's awareness of Skoda and thus has significantly improved the make's image.
The new Octavia is a completely new car in which the latest vehicle technologies are used. It stands between the lower medium class (A segment) and medium class segment (B segment). Thus, it continues the Skoda’s key strategy to deliver an "extra bit of car" at prices similar to those of its competitors; that is, a B-segment car at an A-segment price, another example of Skoda’s legendary value. The Skoda Octavia achieves this goal by providing an exceptional combination of space and features. For instance, the new Skoda Octavia has a more passenger space, particularly in the rear seat, and an even larger luggage compartment than the current Octavia.
The new Octavia's progressive technologies and multitude of sophisticated elements that have so far only been used in upper medium-class car segment cars and make normal use of the car more pleasant. The new car comes is built on the Volkswagen Group’s A5 platform. It was designed and engineered at the SkodaAuto Design and Engineering Centre and will be assembled in the state-of-the-art Octavia Assembly Hall. Both are located at the company’s headquarters in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic, now part of the expanded European Union.
The new Skoda Octavia will be introduced in the in mid-July, making this one of the first markets to see the new car. In 2004, the brand anticipates selling some 2,800 new Octavias. In 2005 and onward, annual volumes are likely to be higher than those of the current Octavia, reaching about 15,000 per year, with potential for much higher numbers.
Customers for the new Octavia will be a mixture of private buyers and company car drivers, especially user-choosers. The spacious rear seat legroom and the “extra bit of car” touches make the Octavia a great choice for families. Competitors in the A-sector, where it sits in terms of price, include the Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 307, Renault Megane and Ford Focus.