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People who know about the motor industry, know about Skoda’s illustrious past. For the first half of this century Skoda was one of the world’s greatest marques. It was the manufacturer of some of the most prestigious cars available, such as the luxury Hispano-Suiza, it was a leader in motor car design and technical innovation and a pioneer in the new realm of motorsport. However, the economic situation surrounding the communist years in Czechoslovakia dictated that the Skoda factory became product oriented rather than market oriented, mass producing a basic product rather than matching its products to the needs of customers and market demands. Inevitably, in such a highly competitive area as the motor industry, this caused the reputation and image of Skoda and its products to suffer.
The final stage of the transformation of Skoda took place in October 1994 with the international launch of the new Skoda Felicia. The Felicia is a modern, spacious hatchback and estate car, economical enough to meet the needs of a buyer who wants to make a sensible choice, which embraces Europe’s highest quality control and safety standards.
The Felicia hatchback made its UK debut in May 1995 with a 1.3 litre engine and was followed in 1996 by an estate car, plus a new 1.6 litre version with the engine from the Volkswagen Golf. A similarly sourced 1.9 litre diesel engine version will follow by the end of 1996. The Felicia is a high quality, good specification product which takes on Western, Japanese and South East Asian rivals on their own terms, but with a considerable price advantage. The Felicia range pricing starts at £6299 on the road.
It should immediately become obvious to the reader why Skoda has been transformed. The buyer is able to get exceptional value for money by purchasing a modern looking car with all of the best Volkswagen technology but at a bargain price. This process of development is set to keep rolling:
- In 1996 new commercial vehicles will be launched, a Pick Up and a Van.
- In 1996 a larger saloon car, the Octavia, will be launched.
- In 1998, a new car with a wide range of variants.
With the launch of larger cars, Skoda will be entering a new market sector for the first time, giving it an opportunity to increase sales and move into the highly competitive fleet market.