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Skoda, oh Skoda. You're just so cool. Maybe it's the fact that it's a brand that we don't get in these United States, but Skoda's rebadged Volkswagens, in particular the new Octavia vRS shown here, are just different enough from the hum-drum VWs on our shores that the Czech brand seems strangely desirable. Maybe we're just craving forbidden fruit.

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2009 Skoda Octavia - Click above for our high-res image gallery

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Skoda, the Czech marque that belongs to the VW group, has announced that its Octavia model will from now on use the latest iteration of TDI technology. TDI is based in the use of common-rail injection, and it phases out pump-injectors. The new Superb, due in two months, will also have the new engines installed.

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As the epic 2006 Formula One season draws to a close, countries have been lining up to put themselves on the map by preparing bids to host grands prix for future seasons. The latest nation to join the fray is the Czech Republic. While mention of the country may for some still conjure up images of impoverished former Soviet bloc client-states, the capital city Prague, which would host the race, is an increasingly popular and cosmopolitan tourist destination.

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Radio Prague reported Monday that Hyundai has agreed with the Czech Republic on a plan to invest up to $1.2 billion towards a new factory in Nosovice. The deal was confirmed by Hyundai Motor VP In-Seo Kim, and marks the end of a protracted negotiation for the site of the automaker's first European factory.

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