A few months ago, Škoda revealed its all-new Fabia, a model that will undoubtedly be a vital product for the Czech automaker, yet it hardly registered on our scale of the most exciting debuts at the Paris Motor Show this year. But this... this is more like it.
The Škoda what now, you ask? The Škoda Fabia, that's what. It may not be offered in North America, but globally speaking, it's the second most successful model from the Volkswagen group's third most successful brand. And Skoda has just revealed the all-new version here at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
Škoda may not get the bulk of our attention, but it's hard to argue with the nearly 1 million vehicles it moved last year. In terms of sales volume, that makes Škoda the third biggest division under the Volkswagen Group umbrella (after VW and Audi). The Octavia accounted for over a third of that, but despite having been introduced back in 2007, the Fabia remains its second most popular model worldwide. Good thing it's got an all-new model on the cusp, then.
Since it doesn't market in these United States, Škoda may not be an automaker consistently on our radar screen. But it sells nearly a million vehicles each year in markets like Europe and China, and though it doesn't ell as many as the larger Octavia, the Fabia is one of the Czech automaker's biggest sellers. In fact Škoda sold over 12,000 Fabias just last month, despite the model having been on the market virtually unchanged for seven years already. But now the Volkswagen's most b
Automakers may be paying a lot of attention these days to making their crossovers and SUVs drive more like cars, but at the same time, they're also making cars that feel more like SUVs. We're talking about models like the Subaru Outback, Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70. These soft-road (if not quite off-road) wagons have a particularly keen following overseas, and that point is not lost on Volkswagen. In fact the German auto giant has soft-road models under each of its mainstream brands: Volkswagen
American buyers in the market for a hot hatch from the Volkswagen Group can choose between the GTI or the Golf R, but our compatriots overseas have more options at their disposal, all based on the same platform. They can go for more Latin flavor in the Seat Leon Cupra (available in two states of tune) or for the more low-key Škoda Octavia RS. But soon, it seems, they'll have another choice on their hands in the form of an even more potent Octavia.
Skoda's second- and third-ever production compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles aren't exactly speed burners, but they are efficient. The Czech automaker, which is owned by Volkswagen, will introduce its Octavia G-TEC and Octavia Combi G-TEC models to most of Europe next month. Skoda's first CNG model was the Citigo, which debuted in 2012.
Volkswagen rejoined the World Rally Championship last year and immediately took both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles, and is already on track to do the same this year. But before the VW brand itself got back into rallying, that role belonged to its Czech subsidiary. Škoda won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2010, 2011 and 2012, when it also won the European Rally Championship, as well.
Every year, fans of Volkswagen Group performance cars gather at a lake in Austria to celebrate the GTI Treffen. But what started as a fan-fest for VW hot hatches has long since expanded to include other brands under the company's sprawling umbrella, and Škoda never misses out.
Of all the brands under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, Škoda is not the one we'd most associate with cutting-edge design. Its hatchbacks and sedans tend to be styled rather conservatively to cater to tastes that would be turned off by the flash of a Seat or even a VW. But that changes here and now at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show with the reveal of the VisionC.
Škoda is, by our estimation, to Volkswagen what Mercury was to Ford, Oldsmobile was to General Motors or Lancia was (and technically still is) to Fiat: not quite a luxury brand, but appealing to conservative tastes just the same. (Only where those brands have all faltered, VW still seems to be making a go of Škoda.)
Škoda is not a brand we'd associate with excitement. Sure, it has thrown its hat in the performance ring with its vRS models, but even that's been whittled down to just the Octavia vRS, and the Octavia, while competent, is hardly something worth getting excited over. But the Czech automaker is hoping to drum up some excitement at the Geneva Motor Show this year with the concept you see here.
Volkswagen is staging a massive, worldwide recall that's already grown from 1.68 million to 2.64 million vehicles and covers three different issues across a number of vehicles. We already reported on 61,000 Tiguans getting recalled over lighting issues - that was just in the US. Globally, however, VW will be recalling 800,000 Tiguans, according to Automotive News, with the focus on CUVs built between 2008 and 2011. The issue with the Tiguan relates to a simple fuse swap, so this is rather unrema
There are products in the Volkswagen Group that we wish we got on this side of the Atlantic, and there are those we don't. Škoda's products, by and large, don't fall in the former category – with a few exceptions. Its RS models represent such an exception, but new reports coming in from the Old World suggest that that those may be consigned to the dustbin of history.
One of the highlights of covering a European auto show like Frankfurt is the amount of forbidden fruit on hand. Most of the cars we admire from across the pond, like this Škoda Octavia RS, are on display, allowing us to see them, sit in them and push their buttons.
If you were to surmise that Skoda is to Volkswagen as Mercury was to Ford, Plymouth was to Chrysler or Lancia is to Fiat, you wouldn't be far off. It's not quite luxury but not really sporty either, and it doesn't have many stand-alone products. But the Rapid is an exception.
This past May, Skoda pulled in to the Worthersee festival – a gathering of Volkswagen Group hot-hatch enthusiasts in Austria – with a gussied-up version of its Rapid sedan. It was awesome, but we missed it because a) we weren't there and b) let's face it, it's a Skoda. But the Czech automaker was kind enough to bring its Rapid Sport concept with it to Frankfurt this week to give us the opportunity to correct that wrong by seeing it up close and bringing it to your computer, tablet, s