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

› 65th anniversary of the Octavia: historic predecessor debuted in 1959 and established the model designation
› Heart of the brand: first modern Octavia generation launched in 1996, more than seven million customers across more than 60 markets since then, over four vehicle generations
› Internationally successful: best-selling model in seven European countries, most popular estate in 14 countries

Mladá Boleslav, 14 May 2024 – The success story of the Octavia began 65 years ago, when the first Octavia was launched. Since 1996, Škoda Auto has produced four modern 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: 360,000 units built

In spring 1959, Škoda started production of its eighth post-war model in Mladá Boleslav. Hence the name “Octavia”, based on the Latin numeral “octava”, meaning “the eighth”. 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, like a deformable safety steering wheel or asymmetric parabola headlights. 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.

A legend turns 60: The ŠKODA OCTAVIA celebrates its anniversary


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

The modern Octavia launched in 1996 and embodied the brand’s new image as well as its ambitious plans for the future. With more than 7.15 million units sold across the four modern generations, the Octavia is not only a mainstay of the Škoda brand but also one of the ten best-selling cars in Europe and 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 with the current Octavia Combi being the number one estate car in 14 countries. The fourth Octavia generation is currently the best-selling vehicle in seven European countries. In Škoda’s largest European market, Germany, the Octavia has been the most popular import vehicle for many years. Furthermore, the Octavia has been in use as a police vehicle in Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, UK, Kosovo and Morocco.

Škoda Octavia | Infographic History

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Praise from international car magazines and their readers

The various Škoda Octavia generations have garnered numerous international motoring press awards over the years. In 2020, 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, it was awarded the title of “Best family car for practicality”. 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.

Škoda Octavia Sportline

Škoda Octavia Sportline


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Vítězslav Kodym
Head of Product Communications
P +420 604 292 131

Anežka Boudná
Spokesperson Product Communications
P +420 734 298 801