A well deserved victory for Skoda

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FROM being a joke car manufacturer to the UK’s most dependable brand is the remarkable about turn by the Czech motor producer Skoda following a report by the world’s leading customer satisfaction survey company JD Power writes Bryan Longworth.

The UK vehicle dependability survey asked owners to report problems with their new cars and the results gave Skoda a clear victory with them comprehensively outscoring luxury brands costing tens of thousands of pounds more than the most expensive Skoda.

Every Skoda in the survey by the American based survey company performed better than the industry average with the Fabia, Superb and Yeti in particular doing especially well.

The result of the survey was not a surprise to motoring journalists including yours truly and even Doncaster’s Jeremy Clarkson for Clarkson has said the Yeti is one of the best cars in this class he has ever driven and as a Yeti owner I wholeheartedly agree with that.

In fact before the Second World War Skoda was one of the most respected car producers in the world but after the war it all went pear shaped when the Communist leaders of Czechoslovakia took over the factory and produced some terrible cars which led to them becoming the source of jokes that damaged the company image.

But in 1990 Skoda became part of the VW empire and the rest is history for after building a new factory near Prague Skoda went on to produce some very impressive cars and now the jokey image has become a thing of the past and long forgotten.

I visited the new factory shortly after it opened and it was obvious then that the influence of the VW Group was going to make a massive difference to the fortunes of Skoda whose cars are now judged to be even better than others in the company which includes VW, Audi and Seat.

During that visit I also called at the Skoda museum which included cars from the pre-war era of the company then known as Laurin and Klement and the design and quality of the vehicles on display was amazing and it was obvious why the firm had such a good reputation in that era.

Skoda has also done extremely well in a survey by the leading UK consumer organisation Which? being named as a firm favourite with car owners with the Superb and Yeti voted as the most satisfying cars to own in the estate and SUV classes.

Alasdair Stewart the UK boss of Skoda said the JD Power survey showed that their build quality was now the best in the industry and it illustrated Skoda’s passion for delivering quality and dependability.

I could not agree more for my Yeti is the best car I have ever owned and it is easy to see why the Czech company is now receiving so many accolades and awards because their cars just keeping better especially with their styling for some of the latest models have really big showroom appeal.

Skoda are currently on the crest of a wave and I wonder if at some time in the future they could even become the top brand in the VW Group which is something to ponder and that would really give them the last laugh on the jokers!

Fact File

Models in survey.

Complete Skoda range.

Survey company: JD Power.

Decision: UK’s most dependable brand.

Top models: Fabia, Superb and Yeti.