Skoda - Octavia/Laura
The Škoda Octavia was introduced in 1996. The car is built on the same plattform as the Audi A3 and VW Golf 4. It also shares platform with the Seat Leon and Toledo. The car is not based on the VW Passat as some believe, but the chassis is stretched compared to the Audi A3 and Golf 4.
The second generation model was introduced in 2004 -- this is based on the platform that is also uses by VAG-cars like Audi A3 (second gen.), Audi TT, VW Golf 5, VW Golf Plus, VW Touran. The first generation Octavia is still manufactured and marketed in some markets. In those markets, the first-generation Octavia is still known as Octavia, and the newer model is referred to as the new Octavia. In India, the newer model is marketed as the Laura. In Germany, the older model is marketed as the Octavia TOUR, while the newer model is marketed as the Octavia.
A SUV-version of the Octavia is expected to come on the market in 2006, under the name Octavia Cross. The Octavia (estate) can already be delivered with four wheel drive - this using the Haldex-system, which is based on a computercontroled clutch-based center-differential.