“No other model has run off ŠKODA’s production lines more often than the OCTAVIA,” says Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA Board Member for Production and Logistics. “It is the heart of our brand and represents the high performance of ŠKODA production and logistics. The OCTAVIA has made a significant contribution to ŠKODA’s rise on the global markets.”
The ŠKODA OCTAVIA exemplifies the brand’s success over the past two decades. It was the first newly developed ŠKODA model following the fall of the Iron Curtain and after joining forces with the Volkswagen Group. Its introduction provided the impetus for ŠKODA’s rise to becoming a globally operating company, which has now successfully established itself among the large volume brands.
First OCTAVIA and its forebear
The launch of the ŠKODA OCTAVIA took place in autumn 1996 at the ‘Mondial de l’Automobile’ in Paris. The then new notchback saloon in the upper compact class featured modern technology and was very high quality and excellent value for money. With its ample space, the OCTAVIA set new standards in its segment right from the start. In addition, the car designed by former ŠKODA Chief Designer Dirk van Braeckel impressed buyers with a timeless design. A striking appearance with a large radiator grille enlivened the street scene of the 1990s.
In searching for a name for the new model, ŠKODA looked back to its model history. Between 1959 and 1971, the manufacturer built a vehicle called OCTAVIA, which mobilised the masses, offering lots of space and modern technology for the time. The name OCTAVIA comes from the Latin word for the number eight: ‘Octo’.
The historical OCTAVIA was the traditional Czech brand’s eighth model after the Second World War, following the POPULAR variants 420, 995, 995 OHV and 110 OHV, as well as the ŠKODA 1101, 1200 and 400. In 1961 an estate version was launched on the market. In 22 years of production, ŠKODA built 365,400 vehicles in the popular series.
The OCTAVIA of the ‘modern era’ set the bar considerably higher. In 1997 ŠKODA produced 61,000 OCTAVIAs, one year later the production number had almost doubled to over 117,500 units. The ŠKODA OCTAVIA COMBI, which also stimulated demand, followed in 1998. In 2010, the last of 1,442,100 OCTAVIAs of the first generation rolled off the line at the Vrchlabí plant.
ŠKODA launched global production with the OCTAVIA II
The successor, first introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2004, continued the triumphant success of its predecessor. The OCTAVIA II had a fresh design, more space in the interior and boot, as well as state-of-the-art technology. Also, petrol engines with direct injection celebrated their premiere in the new generation. Added to this there were new six-speed manual gearboxes and automatic gearboxes – including the DSG transmission. Driving comfort increased thanks to a new multi-link rear axle. The enhanced safety features included ABS with braking assistant as series standard in Europe, four airbags and new active headrests.
With the second-generation OCTAVIA, the Czech manufacturer also stepped up its internationalisation strategy. The production of the OCTAVIA began at the Indian plant Aurangabad in 2005. The Shanghai Volkswagen plant has been building the OCTAVIA for China since 2007. And since 2009, the OCTAVIA has been produced at the Russian Volkswagen plant in Kaluga. The third OCTAVIA generation celebrated its premiere in 2012. Just one year later, production of the brand’s bestseller also commenced in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
With the extensively revised version of the ŠKODA OCTAVIA released in February 2017, the brand intends to continue the success story of its predecessors and further strengthen ŠKODA’s position in the international markets. The current ŠKODA OCTAVIA looks more dynamic than ever thanks to the newly designed front and rear sections, harmonious lines and wider track. The new version of the compact model convinces with proven strengths and sets standards in terms of space, functionality, safety and comfort technology, as well as value for money in its segment. In addition, the new generation is the first OCTAVIA to feature ŠKODA Connect mobile online services. With its advanced connectivity solutions, the brand’s bestseller is also equipped for the digital age.
ŠKODA OCTAVIA production figures:
|OCTAVIA (1959 – 1971)||365,400|
|OCTAVIA I (1996 – 2010)||1,442,100|
|OCTAVIA II (2004 – 2013)||2,604,100|
|OCTAVIA III (2012 – dosud)||1,558,400|