Skoda a contender for unbeatable value and style, says RAY MASSEY

Have you heard about the Skoda yet? You may not have done that, because the days when Skoda cars were the butt of jokes are long gone.

This car manufacturer has indeed experienced a remarkable renaissance. Last year the company celebrated its 125th anniversary – and what a century and a quarter it has been.

It has been 30 years since the German giant Volkswagen Group took full control of the Czech brand after the fall of the Berlin Wall two years earlier in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

Powerful: The new Enyaq iV SUV is Skoda’s first all-electric vehicle and is described by the company as ‘one of the most significant new models ever introduced in the brand’s 126-year history’

Those early cars were aimed at the budget market, but over the past decade Skodas have become quite chic, with bold designs and sporty performance. Now they are seen as a smart or smart choice for people who want value for money, but also demand style.

Skoda has not been shy about using glamor to sell its wares, as vintage snaps reveal. Vocalist Paloma Faith appeared in Skoda’s 2018 campaign for the Karoq SUV with a cover of the 1969 song Make Your Own Kind Of Music. The following year she covered the Sammy Davis Jr. classic I Gotta Be Me for the range.

Leader of the pack: the Skoda Enyaq iV leads the pack in the Tour de France

Leader of the pack: the Skoda Enyaq iV leads the pack in the Tour de France

It’s been two decades since Skoda introduced its first rally victory-inspired vRS performance model to the UK – the 2001 Octavia vRS Mk1 – with the cult Fabia vRS Mk1 hot-hatch following shortly after.

A decade later, in 2011, a Skoda Octavia VRS officially became the world’s fastest 2.0-litre supercharged production car in the world when the 600 hp ‘salt spec’ racer reached over 227 mph and set the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. in Utah in the us

FIRM FAVORITES

Skoda now sells around 75,000 cars a year in the UK, with the Octavia as the most popular model, followed by the Fabia. The latest car for Skoda buyers is the fourth generation (since 2000) Fabia hatchback.

Order books are about to open for deliveries later this year with prices ranging from around £15,000 to £20,000.

The current Skoda range in the UK also includes: the Scala hatchback from £17,270 to £25,950, the Octavia hatchback and estate from £22,245 and the Superb from £25,890 to £42,035. The 280hp 2-litre Sport Line version of the Superb, which costs £34,740, is also the fastest accelerating Skoda, traveling from 0-100km/h in five seconds.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Skoda SUVs include the Kamiq (£18,755 to £26,985), Karoq (£23,675 to £35,660) and the facelifted Kodiaq (from £27,650), whose sporty VRS is the most expensive car in the range at £44,635, powered by a 2 -litre 245 hp petrol engine that propels it from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds.

The new Enyaq iV SUV is Skoda’s first all-electric vehicle and is described by the company as “one of the most significant new models ever introduced in the brand’s 126-year history”. There are also plug-in hybrid versions of the Octavia and Superb.

Many mourn the demise of the popular Skoda Yeti, but second-hand units are a popular purchase with families and fans who love its practicality and looks.

HISTORY DEVIDES

Skoda started in 1895, when two cycling enthusiasts – mechanic Václav Laurin and bookseller-businessman Václav Klement – founded a bicycle repair shop before designing and manufacturing their own bicycles under the name Slavia.

In 1905 they produced their first car – the 25 mph Laurin & Klement Voiturette A – and by 1907 L&K was the largest car manufacturer in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

New 4th generation Skoda Fabia

But the defeat of Germany and its allies in World War I hit the company hard. So in 1925 L&K merged with the giant Skoda engineering in Pilsen, which was then the largest company in Czechoslovakia. The car production took the Skoda name and was relaunched outside Prague. In the 1930s, several legendary vehicles were created, including the first affordable car for the Czechoslovak masses – the Skoda 420 Popular.

By 1938, however, clouds of war were looming again. Hitler’s territorial ambitions in Eastern Europe meant that he had his eye on the technical excellence and armaments produced by Skoda.

After the wartime occupation by the Nazis, Czechs and Slovaks had to put up with being part of the Russian Soviet Empire.

But Skoda says: “Even under the difficult conditions of the socialist planned economy, a number of important models were created over the forty or so years as a ‘public property’.”

Attuned: Singer-songwriter Paloma Faith appeared in Skoda campaigns

Attuned: Singer-songwriter Paloma Faith appeared in Skoda campaigns

These include the Skoda 1101 Tudor, the Skoda 440 Spartak and the Skoda Felicia Roadster. Another milestone came in 1964 with the Skoda 1000 MB, the first Skoda with unibody construction, rear-wheel drive and the world’s first mass-produced cast aluminum rear engine.

In 1987, the Skoda Favorit became the company’s new front-wheel drive compact car. After the nation’s rejection of communism, Skoda’s strongest partnership began in 1991 with the German Volkswagen Group when the company’s history was wrapped up. This proved the genesis of Skoda, as annual sales increased sixfold between 1991 and 2014.

Today, Skoda employs 43,000 people and operates in more than 100 markets, where more than one million vehicles were sold in 2020.

With three more pure electric vehicles in the pipeline, the goal is to be one of the five best-selling car brands in Europe by 2030. Who is laughing now?

CZECH DEGREE WITH THESE LEGENDS

1905: Laurin & Klement Cart

A The company’s first car had only 7 horsepower and a top speed of 40 km/h. This open two-seater didn’t offer the rider much more protection from the elements than motorcycles, but it was a huge hit.

1936: Popular Skoda Monte Carlo

In the 1930s, the company returned to motorsport and the Monte Carlo Rally. In January 1936, a special Popular roadster took second place in the under 1,500 cc class. The first open version of the popular Monte Carlo was delivered in July 1936.

Behind the times: More than 57,000 rear-engined Skoda 110 R models have been produced

Behind the times: More than 57,000 rear-engined Skoda 110 R models have been produced

1970: Skoda 110 R

More than 57,000 rear-engined models were produced. The 110 R formed the basis for a series of sporting specials and was soon taken over by the motorsports association. Its successor, the Škoda 130 RS, remains one of the most successful competition cars of all time.

1996: Skoda Octavia

The first Skoda to be developed from scratch after the collapse of the Iron Curtain and its takeover by Volkswagen, marked the beginning of a renaissance in design and engineering. Since 1996, it has accounted for more than 40 percent of Skoda sales, of which five million have been built to date.

2020/1: Skoda Enyaq iV

The all-new, all-electric Enyaq iV is Skoda’s first all-electric car. The Enyaq iV 60 costs from £31,995 after the government’s subsidy of £2,500 plug-in cars. Charging only takes 38 minutes on a fast charger and overnight on a household charger.

A ‘CLASSIC’ WEEKEND IN STORE FOR VINTAGE FANS

Classic cars are being celebrated this weekend, as protesters say they are making progress to get ministers to protect the heritage of vintage motorcycles against controversial government plans to drive petrol and diesel cars off the road.

Controversial: Campaigners say they are making progress to get ministers to protect vintage motorcycle heritage

Controversial: Campaigners say they are making progress to get ministers to protect vintage motorcycle heritage

The newly formed Historic & Classic Vehicles Alliance (HCVA) welcomed the “constructive approach” of DVLA chief executive Julie Lennard, who told MPs she would be “very happy” to explore closer involvement with the auto industry to address long-running issues. unloading about classic vehicle registrations.

The news came as the chief of the bureau appeared before the House of Commons Transport Select Committee to answer questions about a 1.4 million backlog of permit applications, protracted industrial disputes and Covid-related staffing issues.

  • Tomorrow, a tribute to vehicles once a common sight, but now a rarity on British roads, will take place at the postponed seventh Hagerty’s Festival of the Unexceptional (left) at Lincolnshire’s Grimsthorpe Castle. Already sold out, the event aims to showcase “the best examples of some of the most mundane cars ever built.” The organizers said: “It showcases many maligned and long-forgotten ‘regular’ classic cars and commercial vehicles from the late 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.” (hagerty.co.uk).
  • Earlier this month, Transport Secretary Rachel Maclean, Conservative MP for Redditch, tried to reassure classic car owners by saying that it is “important to be clear that as we phase out sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles, we are at this stage ‘no plans to actually ask people to take existing or classic cars or older cars off the road.’

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