After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Communist rule in Eastern European quickly followed. And Western investors where not so far behind in 1990 the Czech government was already lining up partners for the carmaker Skoda. By 1991 Volkswagen had managed to snap up the company completely. Of all the East European car makers, Skoda had made the most progress, working with Italian design house Bertone to create the 1987 Favorit. And although this was well package and modern looking hatchback, it had to trade on price. Once VW had taken over, it worked on a thorough re-engineering of the Favorit, recreating it as the Fabia, much stronger and better built car. This marked a big step forward for the company and sales to west started to pick up. Few rivals Western carmakers expected Skoda’s next move, however. The Octavia hatchback and estate was based on VW’s then current MK 4 Golf platform. It was handsomely styled, practical and surprisingly rewarding to drive. It was also built to a very high standard indeed.
When the car was unveiled in Pargue in 1996, Skoda declared it wanted to rival Rover and Volvo, middle market, middle class brands that appealed to families. The Octavia range was successfully expanded into 4×4 version of the estate and even into a sporting versions sold under the VRS brand, which made use of the VW’s well regarded 1.8 liter turbocharged engines. Skoda improved on the original Octavia in 2004 with a replacement model based on the accomplished Golf MK 5 chassis.