If you think back to the 1980’s, the eastern european car manufacturers such as Skoda, Lada and Yugo, tried to make a break into the western european marketplace. In the case of the Czech manufacturers, the Skoda Estelle was the flagship. The vehicles were cheap, cheerful and had a certain charm and fanbase. However, there was little doubt that the vehicles could lack much of the finesse of many other manufacturers in the marketplace, and in many cases were simply the butt of many a joke.
How times have changed!
However, a look back into the history of Skoda tells you a little more of the pride of the company, and shows the dark days of the 1980’s were a aberration rather than an endemic trait.
Skoda now and then
Go back in the history of Skoda, and you will find that they were considered a ‘prestige’ manufacturer of motor vehicles. Indeed they were asked to hand build vehicles for royalty in the early part of the 20th century.
The downward spiral of the 1980’s was largely due to the influence of the ‘iron curtain’. Many vehicles from the soviet block featured old fashioned designed, although in many instances they could be simple and reliable.
However, a more modern range of vehicles, beginning with the Felicia, coincided with the purchase of the company by the German giant VW Audi Group. Vehicles now became ultra reliable and styled in a way that would appeal.
Amongst this group of new models was a name revived from Skoda’s past, the Octavia. The new Octavia was rele4ased in 1996, and immediately became an instant hit with the private hire taxi driver. The low purchase price coupled with unrivalled reliability and advantageous lease deals aimed at taxi drivers, meant the Skoda Octavia was soon dominating the taxi landscape.
In 2006, the UK’s largest warranty provider, ranked Skoda as the most reliable brand in the UK, with models proving 3 times more reliable than its more prestigious Audi cousin.
Skoda Octavia in 2012
Have things changed at all in the last few years? Well not really, the Skoda Octavia may not be as relatively cheap as it once was, but it still is held in esteem by private hire drivers the UK over. At the end of the day, a private hire driver needs their vehicle on the road, and the Skoda Octavia certainly delivers than commitment!