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Can’t get ’em here dept.

Škoda Fabia (Czech Republic)

Škoda Fabia (Czech Republic)

Škoda, if you’ve never heard of the brand, was started in Czechoslovakia, back in 1895, when they manufactured bicycles. A lot of car companies started that way. But not a lot of car companies eventually found themselves behind the Iron Curtain, building throwaway cars that good citizens paid an arm and a leg for. Škoda did finally get their act together in the late 1980s, and in 1991 they were purchased by Volkswagen, becoming VW’s fourth brand (along with VW, Audi, and the Spanish Seat). Some of Škoda’s cars are based on VW platforms, and do very well in both sales and with the European motoring press.

The Škoda Fabia, which is pictured, is based on the VW Polo, a car slightly smaller than the Golf/Rabbit, and is currently selling in Great Britain for as low as £8,625 (a little over 14 grand US). Although Škodas were available in Canada for a time years ago, I don’t expect VW will ever bring the brand back across the ocean. They’re struggling enough without bringing in a cheaper version of their present lineup.