New Skoda Octavia Sings to Life!
Prepare to say hello to the returning Octavia brand name in India, sometime during this year. I say returning because after the first generation Octavia did enough to establish the Skoda brand in this country, it continued in time honoured Indian fashion even after its successor was launched in the country but badged with an altogether different model name, the Laura. This time round though, it is the Laura which will continue in the Skoda India line-up with an all new Octavia making its return to prominence.
It was also saying something about the rich automotive heritage of the brand that the launch event was held at the spanking new Skoda museum at Mlada Boleslav on the outskirts of Prague. Just under a couple of years ago this venue was just the old assembly facility but the designers had refurbished it massively to bring the technology, design and performance traditions of this Czech automaker to life in the most glorious manner. In fact among the front ranked VW Group brands, Skoda lacked a museum in the modern vein but just two weeks prior to the launch and reveal of the third gen Octavia the new Skoda museum was up and running and the Octavia's launch also highlighted the first real view of the museum to the rest of the world.
The third generation Octavia was already on everyone's minds when Skoda showed its Mission L concept during the VW Group Night on the eve of the 2012 Paris Auto Salon. Based on the VW Group's much acclaimed MQB floor pan and parts matrix, the new car is cleaner, leaner, better proportioned, even more roomier and larger but yet lighter to the tune of 102 kilos and in line with its time honoured price-performance proposition.
None else but Skoda CEO Winfried Vahland acknowledged how important the Octavia remains to Skoda. "Our aim was to make this car even better for its third generation and this is reflected in the values of the new offering." Who could have foreseen that what was essentially a small family Hatchback almost two decades ago has now grown in size and esteem to challenge the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia set. In India, I can just see it stamping its authority on the class in which unfortunately also resides the brilliant VW Jetta! Yes pricing and value proposition would count just as much if not more in India as well and should help Skoda India to establish its foothold in the segment even more strongly.