Auto Praha, the importer of Skoda cars, has added the Octavia Laurin & Klement version to its line-up of CBU cars from the Czech Republic. This version is the most luxurious in the Octavia line and the ‘Laurin & Klement’ name pays tribute to a Czech company started by mechanic Vaclav Laurin and the book-seller Vaclav Klement in 1895.
The company is honoured in the history of the automobile industry of the Czech Republic and began with the manufacture of bicycles. Later on, it moved into making motorcycles and then cars and was an independent company till 1925 when it was acquired by the Pilsen Skoda Company.
As enthusiasts will know, Skoda’s models share platforms with VW and Audi models and the Octavia sits on a VW Passat platform. Last year, Auto Praha brought in the Elegance version with a 1.6-litre engine and offered it for RM106,716.73 (without insurance). The Laurin & Klement version, which has many more standard features, retails for RM133,602.38 (without insurance).
Apart from the 110 kW/150 bhp 1.8-litre 20-valve turbocharged engine that is the same as the one found under the bonnet of the locally-assembled Audi A4 1.8T – which cost about RM202,000 without insurance last year – the Octavia Laurin & Klement has an automatic climate control system, CD-changer, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, wood trim, sunroof, leather upholstery, cruise control and four airbags for the front occupants. Only a 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission is available.
The luxurious character of the interior is emphasized by the wood design, the chrome rims on the dashboard instruments, and the door safety knobs, the storage pocket on the front passenger’s side and the woven mats.
Superb to be launched soon
Auto Praha will also be launching Skoda’s flagship, the Superb, in the very near future. Some units are already in the company’s head office compound in Klang, Selangor, and according to the company’s GM, Azmir Reza Ahmad, the Superb will be launched at the end of February to coincide with the opening of a new showroom in a popular area of Kuala Lumpur.
“We have not finalised the price but it will be around RM240,000, slightly less if possible” he said, adding that the present strength of the euro currency is making things less flexible than before. Nevertheless, even at that price, the Superb – which has a 142 kW/193 bhp 2.8-litre 30-valve V6 (from the same engine family as that used for the Audi A6) – should represent good value for money.
The Superb is the first large Skoda passenger car made since 1949 and uses a stretched Passat platform so it has good interior space. From what could be seen in the unit spotted by AW, the model Auto Praha has imported will have tiptronic-type automatic transmission and leather upholstery.
Build quality looks pretty good with the gaps amazingly consistent. This is also evident in the other Skoda models so the Germans (Skoda is part of the VW Group) have obviously imposed their superlative engineering and production philosophies in the Czech factories.