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Car and Driver: VW Considers Bringing Its Skoda Brand to the U.S.


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Skoda Yeti

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Some decades ago, when it was the most popular automotive brand of Communist Czechoslovakia, Škodas were sold in the Canadian market—but never in the U.S. Today, the Czech carmaker is one of the Volkswagen Group’s most successful nameplates; its lineup consists of stylish cars with cutting-edge technology, usually on par with that offered by its VW siblings, for several hundreds or thousands of euros less. It has hopelessly outclassed its Spanish sister brand SEAT, and in India, Škoda’s image is a least as good as VW’s.

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No wonder the brand is bullish about the future, to the point that it is seriously considering a launch in the U.S. That’s what the brand’s CEO Bernhard Maier told the German daily “Handelsblatt,” as quoted by AutoWeek. Maier told the German paper that in the course of 2017, “we want to decide on the question of North America.” A further driving factor could be that VW’s recently installed CEO for North America, Dr. Winfried Vahland, previously headed up the Škoda brand.

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Skoda Octavia

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It is not clear which models Škoda would bring to the U.S., but the brand reportedly has registered the Yeti, Octavia, Superb, and vRS nameplates here. The Yeti (seen at top) is a Golf-based, standalone compact crossover model. The Octavia (pictured above) is a Jetta-sized and Golf-based compact four-door; the Superb (shown below) is a Passat-based midsize-to-large sedan; and vRS is the company’s designation for its sportier versions.

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SKODA SUPERB Sportline

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The powertrains used by Škoda are virtually identical with VW’s, and they would face the same scrutiny if the brand attempted to certify them for the U.S. market.

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Launching Škoda in the U.S. would be a costly endeavor, on that would put the suffering VW brand under further pressure. Unless VW feels that its Volkswagen brand has been so tarnished by the diesel emissions scandal that the best thing to do is give VW dealers another brand to sell.

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I made a Skoda once but Charmin took care of it.

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