Once a motoring joke because of their poor quality and cheap prices, Skodas have enjoyed a major metamorphosis in recent years under the ownership of Volkswagen. Formed in 1924 in Czechoslovakia, its pre-war cars proved popular and sold well.
After the war, Skoda found itself behind the Iron Curtain, which meant it concentrated on compact and quite basic machines. During the 1960s, it moved over to building somewhat quirky rear-engined cars – at a time when many others were abandoning the layout – and continued this format for the next quarter of a century. Volkswagen took a major stake in 1990, and completely revamped the range; Skoda today is a high quality budget brand with a much-improved image.