A history of success: Iconic model is at the heart of the Škoda brand

› Historic predecessor debuted in 1959 and established the Octavia model designation
› Modern successor launched in 1996 has found more than seven million customers across more than 60 markets over four vehicle generations
› Best-selling model in seven European countries, most popular estate in 14 countries

Mladá Boleslav, 14 February 2024 – The success story of the modern Octavia began 27 years ago. Since 1996, Škoda Auto has produced four generations and more than seven million units of its best-seller. Its popularity with customers has been complemented by numerous prestigious international awards.

The original Octavia: a popular model with 360,000 units built

In spring 1959, Škoda started production of its eighth post-war model in Mladá Boleslav. Hence the name “Octavia” – it means “the eighth” in Latin. It was also the eighth Škoda model to come with advanced independent suspension all round and the last to be built on a frame structure with a central support tube. The original Octavia was derived from the popular Škoda 440, but featured a modern front axle with coil springs as well as other technical and visual updates. Its four-cylinder engine had a displacement of 1.1 litres and produced 29.4 kW (40 hp), transmitted to the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox and enabling a top speed of 110 km/h. The Octavia Super had a 1.2-litre engine producing 33 kW (45 hp). September 1960 saw the launch of the Octavia Combi featuring a horizontally split tailgate. The Octavia remained in production until 1964, the Combi until 1971. 360,000 vehicles were produced in total, more than 54,000 of them Combi estates.

Škoda Octavia | Infographic 65 years of history

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The first generation of the modern Octavia made its debut in 1996

The launch of the modern Octavia in 1996 marked a milestone in Škoda history. The model embodied the brand’s new image and its ambitious plans for the future. It quickly became a best-seller. With more than 7.15 million units sold across the four modern generations, the Octavia is one of the ten best-selling cars in Europe and a mainstay of the Škoda brand. Its combined sales total for the hatchback and Combi estate makes it the best-selling model in the compact class across the territory of the 27 EU member states along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Octavia Combi has been the most popular estate car in Europe across all segments since 2016. The fourth generation is currently the best-selling vehicle in seven European countries: the Czech Republic, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Octavia Combi is the number one estate car in 14 countries (Czech Republic, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland). In Škoda’s largest European market, Germany, the Octavia has been the most popular import vehicle for many years. It has also been popular with police forces all over the world. The Octavia has been in use as a police vehicle in Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, UK, Kosovo or Morocco.

ŠKODA OCTAVIA COMBI 1. generation (2000)

ŠKODA OCTAVIA COMBI 2. generation (2004)

Praise from international car magazines and their readers

The Škoda Octavia has also received high praise from the international motoring press. Its various generations have garnered numerous awards over the years. The current fourth generation has won many trophies, such as the prestigious Red Dot Award for outstanding product design in 2020, the third such award for the model series. That same year, the Octavia took first place in German “Auto Bild” for all-wheel drive cars up to 40,000 euros and the title of “Best Family Car” in the Women’s World Car of the Year (WWCOTY) awards. This was followed in 2021 by the “Family Car of the Year” award by British car magazine “Auto Express”. In 2023, “Auto Bild” named the Octavia “Best Company Car” in the compact category for the fifth time in a row. At British “What Car?” magazine’s 2023 Car of the Year Awards, the Škoda best-seller was awarded the title of “Best family car for practicality”. Recently, in February 2024, it won the compact class import category in the “Best Cars” awards from German car magazine “auto motor und sport” for the eleventh time running.




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Vítězslav Kodym
Head of Product Communications
+420 326 811 784

Anežka Boudná
Spokesperson Product Communications
+420 734 298 801

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