Skoda passes 15m vehicles produced

Skoda has released a third-generation Octavia to mark more than 15 million cars produced since 1905, according to reports.

The Czech manufacturer passed the milestone at its main plant in Mladá Boleslav on February 5 and intends to use the one-off Octavia as a VIP sedan at its Technology Center in Cesana.

More than five million Skodas have rolled off the production line in the past six years, while the carmaker only passed the 14 million-mark at the beginning of last year.

The astonishing period of growth has delighted Skoda chairman Professor Winfried Vahland, who has overseen rapid progress since jumping ship from Volkswagen in September 2010.

Prof Vahland,Skoda chairman, said: "The entire Skoda team is very proud of the 15 million celebration.

"Producing 15 million cars is a symbol for the great development of the Skoda brand. We have been building vehicles for 118 years and automobiles since the year 1905. Thus we are among the automobile brands with the richest traditions in the world."

The professor has no intention of resting on his laurels and hopes Skoda can capitalise on its momentum to hit 1.5 million annual sales by 2018.

The Czech firm has recently unveiled plans to launch eight new upgraded models this year in what has been described as the greatest model offensive in the firm's history. The Citigo, Rapid and the new Octavia will spearhead Skoda's assault on market, with other models to follow later in the year.

Skoda will get the ball rolling with the launch of the new Octavia, which is due to be released in the Czech Republic and Germany in the coming weeks. The previous Octavia accounted for 44% of all Skoda sales last year, with consumers around the world reportedly snapping up more than 3.75 million models since 1996.

British consumers can expect the latest Octavia to arrive on forecourts before the end of the month, hot on the heels of its record-breaking success in 2012. More than 53,000 Octavias were sold to consumers in the UK last year. The figure represented the first time Skoda had broken the 50,000 barrier in Britain and gave them an overall market share of 2.6%.

Skoda recently injected €7.2 million (£6.13 million) to expand production capacity at its plant in Kvasiny, Czech Republic. The firm invested the funds to double production of its popular Yeti to 100,000 vehicles a year, while also relocating the Roomster from another plant in Vrchlabí.

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