Milton Keynes, 21 March 2019: Originally designed to bring affordable and high-quality motoring to the widest possible audience at an unbeatable price, the design and engineering philosophies behind the OCTAVIA remain the same today.
While the OCTAVIA has been a huge sales success around the world, the British have developed one of the strongest bonds with ŠKODA’s brilliant all-rounder. More than 500,000 examples have found loving homes on our shores since the very first 1959 model rolled onto UK roads. And, six decades later, it remains ŠKODA’s top-seller with a range that includes nine equipment levels, 14 engine and transmission options and two body styles.
Over the years, the OCTAVIA has proved itself to be one of the most adaptable and practical cars on the market. It has set World Land Speed Records, been transformed into a title-winning rally car and, become one of the most trusted cars used by our emergency services.
1959-1971 first-generation OCTAVIA
The eighth post-war car to be designed and built at Mladá Boleslav, the OCTAVIA took its name from the latin word for eight – octo. Production began in 1959, with exports to global markets – including the UK – starting shortly after.
In terms of design and engineering, the OCTAVIA featured the same advanced tubular backbone chassis design as its predecessor (the 440/445) but introduced more sophisticated coil spring suspension that transformed the driving experience. Power came from a 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine that developed just 40PS. A modestly more powerful 1.2-litre, 45PS engine arrived later the same year, followed by a range-topping 50PS in March 1960.
By the early 1960s, ŠKODA’s export drive was in full swing. The OCTAVIA’s combination of elegant looks, robust engineering and fine value made it a hit with British buyers, while the availability of a new estate version – complete with split tailgate and 1,050 litre boot –broadened its appeal even further.
The arrival of the rear-engined 1000/1100MB in 1964 marked the end of the road for the first-generation OCTAVIA saloon. However, with its replacement unsuited to an estate car layout, the OCTAVIA estate remained in production at Kvasiny until 1971. Between 1959 and 1971, a total of 360,000 OCTAVIAs were produced, including more than 54,000 estate versions.
1996 – 2004: new-generation OCTAVIA Mk1
1,451,636 cars built.
An all-new OCTAVIA was one of the cornerstones of ŠKODA’s ambitious design and engineering programme following its acquisition by the Volkswagen Group in 1991. Within five years, the dream became a reality. Built on an all-new Mlada Bolelsav production line, it signalled the start of ŠKODA’s re-emergence as a mainstream car maker and proved an instant hit with buyers.
Such was the international demand for the OCTAVIA, that the UK had to wait until 2006 for the first right-hand drive examples to arrive in retailers. By then the range had already expanded to include an estate version, along with a wide variety of engine and trim options. ŠKODA’s first vRS model – complete with 180PS engine – arrived in 2001, along with a four-wheel drive estate variant.
In the UK more than 78,839 of this new generation OCTAVIA Mk1 were sold.
2004-2013; OCTAVIA Mk2
2,274,529 cars built
The second-generation OCTAVIA continued its predecessor’s success story. First shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2004, the Mk2 OCTAVIA arrived with a sleeker design, a bigger cabin and more state-of-the-art technology.
As with the Mk1, the OCTAVIA offered modern tech at a price that couldn’t be beaten. With a line-up featuring direct injection engines, six-speed transmissions and a DSG double-clutch gearbox, the OCTAVIA became a serial award-winner, picking up accolades from both the motoring press and customer satisfaction organisations.
Such was the popularity of the second-generation OCTAVIA that ŠKODA developed plans to create new production facilities around the world. In 2005, production began in Aurangabad in India, with China getting its own production line two years later. A new facility in Kaluga, Russia started building OCTAVIAs in 2009, and by 2011, nearly 38 per cent of all OCTAVIA sales worldwide went to countries outside Europe.
A total of 130,662 OCTAVIA Mk2 models were sold in the UK during its production run.
2013-present; OCTAVIA Mk3
More than 2,500,000 cars built to date
Today, the third generation OCTAVIA continues to form the backbone of the ŠKODA model range, accounting for 24 percent of UK ŠKODA sales in 2018.
The third generation introduced a range of new technical and safety features, along with a new crystalline look and an even more practical cabin. Facelifted in 2017, the OCTAVIA range is now the biggest ever, with a huge range of trim and engine options, including Scout 4x4 models, luxurious L&K variants and vRS performance flagships.
Despite the OCTAVIA’s remarkable development over the years, the 2019 version remains true to the design philosophy that underpinned the 1959 original. It may be bigger, safer and vastly better equipped, but it continues to deliver exceptional quality and value for money to ŠKODA customers.
Eight OCTAVIA facts
For more information on the OCTAVIA click here.