The year was 1996 and it was 3rd September when Skoda rolled out its first Octavia from the then reconstructed Mlada Boleslav manufacturing facility. 20 years down the line, Octavia has proved to be the best-selling vehicle for the Czech manufacturer, a sister concern of the Volkswagen group. Less than half a year after Skoda celebrated the production of one-millionth Octavia, Skoda is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its bestseller.
Skoda initially conceptualized the Octavia in 1992 and as the development process was progressing, the Czech company joined the Volkswagen Group in 1993. Volkswagen helped in the production of Octavia by supplying a platform and hence the initial Octavia was launched with two four-cylinder petrol engines and a turbodiesel. The production of the Octavia started at the Skoda's Mlada Boleslav production facility.
The foundation of the Mlada Boleslav plant was laid in February 1995, and 18 months later, production of the Skoda Octavia took-off. The plant got a new production line for the new series of Skoda which was built in a 32000 square metre hall. In addition to the hall, a 2500 square metre of office space and 3000 square metre of social area was also created. A new paint shop was added in March 1996, where 1800 bodies were to be painted every day, including those of the Octavia's.
From 1996 to November 2010, more than 970,000 saloons and 470,000 estates of the Octavia Mk1 (first generation vehicle) were manufactured, before the production of the Mk1 seized to make way for the Mk2. Skoda already started manufacturing the Mk2 since 2004, and the Mk1 was sold as a cheaper alternative to its successor for 6 years. More than 1.6 million sedans and 900,000 estates of Mk2 were sold over the years.
The Octavia is in its current and third generation and is manufactured in China, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, and, of course, in Mlada Boleslav. In the first half of 2016 alone, Skoda managed to produce 119,670 units, a healthy eight percent increase in the sales from the same period of 2015, according to LeftLane.
“The plant is beautiful, modern, really pretty. It would be great if all factories looked like this,” former Czech President Vaclav Havel stated while starting the production of the Octavia in 1996. But it was not that the Octavia name plate was used in 1996 only. Skoda, first used the Octavia name 1959, for a small family car with a 1.1- and a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine. The car was launched under the AZNP brand, and Octavia was actually the eighth car produced by the company back in 1959.