Our good old Skoda Octavia is 50 years old
Harish Kumar, Hi, I'm Harish Kumar, fondly known as Harry. Two words explain me - Car Nut.
The Octavia (Octavia and later Laura to us) is arguably Skoda's best selling car in the world and even in India although the Fabia has taken over that position now. The popular car which Skoda sells in India, both the generations simultaneously is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. Over 2 million Skoda Octavias that you see in India, have been sold around the world.
The first car that was produced under this brandname also called as the 'Spartak' was started in 1959. This succeeded the Škoda 440.
“Our new vehicle has a new name, too – it is called Škoda Octavia, as it is the eighth model produced by our nationalized industry,” says the issue of the company magazine Ventil released on January 6, 1959.
Skoda then went for a change from Alpha-Numeric naming to verbal naming - the Škoda 440 became the Octavia, the Škoda 445 was renamed to the Octavia Super and the Škoda 450 was called the Felicia from then on. This change was accompanied by minor changes to the front end.
1050 also saw the redesign of suspension systems on Skodas – the old leaf spring was replaced by a coil spring with telescopic shock absorbers which was indeed a major change towards better ride quality and dynamics. “Coil springs were also meant to be used for the rear axle, but did not prove to be a good solution, and so the Company stuck to the leaf springs in the end,“ adds Lukáš Nachtmann, Head of the Škoda Auto Archive.
The name returned in 1989 after Skoda becoming a part of VW's huge family and the car was showcased as a concept in 1992. 1996 saw the resurrection of the Octavia and soon the variations in the form of the Estate version (Octavia Combi) which came 2 years later and finally the 4x4 Scout version.
The 2000 version is still sold in India, even after 9 years into its launch. That speaks volumes about this car which is all about robustness and functionality. The facelifted next gen Octavia (Laura in India since the older version is still on sale in India) will reach Indian shores soon.
The Octavia, Škoda's best-selling these days, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year – the production of the first car launched under this brand name, started in January 1959.
"Our new vehicle has a new name, too – it is called Škoda Octavia, as it is the eighth model produced by our nationalised industry," says the issue of the company magazine Ventil released on January 6, 1959.
The then existing numerical identifications were replaced by verbal ones - the Škoda 440 became the Octavia, the Škoda 445 was renamed to the Octavia Super and the Škoda 450 was called the Felicia from then on. However, the change involved more than just the names and minor adaptations to the vehicle's front mask. Škoda designers also redesigned the front axles of all Škoda passenger cars in 1959 – the old leaf spring was replaced by a coil spring with telescopic shock absorbers, which was indeed a major change. "Coil springs were also meant to be used for the rear axle, but did not prove to be a good solution, and so the Company stuck to the leaf springs in the end," adds Lukáš Nachtmann, Head of the Škoda Auto Archive.
The name was resurrected after 1989, and the Octavia model line became the first car developed internally after Škoda's becoming part of the VW Group. The first prearrangements and the first concept car were made in 1992. The vehicle was launched in 1996, its estate version (Combi) was introduced two years after that, the 4x4 version was added later on.
The year 2000 saw a new, modernised version that is still manufactured under the name Octavia Tour. In February 2004 the Company launched the second-generation Škoda Octavia that was then facelifted in 2008.
The Czech Republic's biggest car manufacturer has sold over 2 million Škoda Octavias worldwide so far, and currently offers a wide range of versions, including the Škoda Octavia RS (sports car) and the Scout (leisure-time).