Volkswagen bought 30% of Škoda Auto in 1991 after making a deal with the new Czech government, then got the rest of it in 2000. In the last few years, the historic brand has made fortunes for the VW Group with its great value entry level models.
Since VW has positioned itself closer to Audi, it's safe to say that as far as Europe goes, Škoda is the new Volkswagen. As in "People's Car". Even the Germans realized that Škodas are in fact cheaper cars built to the same standards as the rest of VW's products, so having the Czech alternative says more like you made a smart choice than a cheap-ass one.
The most important model from Mladá Boleslav is the Octavia, their medium-sized sedan built on VW's MQB platform. After winning a few reliability competitions with the previous two, Škoda just unveiled its third generation before the official premier in Geneva next March. And while its not a bad looking car, one starts wondering where we have all seen this before...
If you think about it, putting together the design of a great value sedan from almost ten years old Audi A6 and A4 styling bits is a lovely idea! While the Chinese would definitely agree, it gives the very reasonable customer base a premium feeling for no extra charge, while also promising that the turbocharged RS version coming in the not too distant future will be a very good looking car indeed...
Photo credit: Škoda Auto