THE mighty Volkswagen Group managed to accomplish one of the motor industry's major success stories by developing Skoda from a joke company into one of the world's leading and most respected automobile manufacturers.
For when VW took over Skoda in 1991 the company in the Czech Republic had become a joke after the communist regime had virtually ruined a highly respected car manufacturer following the Second World War with some very inferior cars.
But now VW has just announced that Skoda is celebrating the production of its 15th millionth vehicle since the beginning of its partnership with Volkswagen and that it has transformed Skoda into an established high volume manufacturer that is represented in over 100 markets across the world and last year achieved a new sales record of 1,126,500 deliveries.
Just after taking over Skoda Volkswagen built a new main manufacturing plant at Mlada Boleslav near Prague which I visited soon after it opened and found it to be an extremely impressive factory but at that time I never imagined that eventually VW would develop Skoda into one of the world's top car makers.
One of their most impressive cars has been the iconic Yeti crossover which has been the best car I have owned and fellow South Yorkshireman Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame was also highly delighted with the Skoda describing it as one of the best vehicles in its class he had driven but having said that I have some bad news for Yeti owners and admirers.
Because for some inexplicable reason Skoda has decided to drop the name Yeti when the new model is replaced later this year and name the successor model which is based on the Seat Ateca the Skoda Karoq.
Apart from its cute name the Yeti had individual boxy styling and as well as being a great car to drive with an extremely comfortable and roomy interior the popular Skoda looked different from the other uninspiring competitors.
My first reaction to seeing photographs of the Yeti replacement is that while Karoq is a good looking car with modern styling it lacks the individual character of the popular Yeti and will become another rather bland option in this class.
I feel that Skoda has made a decision they may well regret because in Yeti they have a crossover with a great catchy brand name plus a vehicle with real style that the Karoq lacks and I find it hard to understand why Skoda and the chiefs of the VW Group have made this strange decision over the successor to Yeti.
It is reassuring to find that I am not alone in my views about the Yeti and its successor for virtually every contributor to one of the leading motoring magazine websites feels exactly the same as me with one stating that it now seems pointless retaining the Skoda name.
For he says that with the Seat Ateca, VW Tiguan and Skoda Karoq all looking very much alike the Skoda version has lost its Czech Yeti individuality adding that VW appear "to have shot themselves in the foot" both with the design of the new car and its new name.
As a Yeti owner and motoring writer I find this is a very sad situation and that if other new Skoda models follow the same trend it appears the days of the distinctive Skoda models under the VW regime have gone for ever after that great revival.