Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - lezer
Do you remember an article I posted some time ago about a reletive of mine having to fork out £800 for a new Gearbox on his Scoda felicia 1.9 diesel at just over 19,000 miles because it was one month out of warranty, since then the front suspension on one side broke and he had to wait over a month for the parts. The latest problem is the engine, At 23,000 miles it now needs a rebore and a new cambelt as the one on there is somewhat frayed. There is a rumour that VW are using sub spec parts in Scoda's, could this possiby be true?. And by the way neither the camshaft or crankshaft sprockets are keyed onto their shafts.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - THe Growler
As the old truism goes, buy Japanese.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - waterboy
"As the old truism goes, buy Japanese."

Or, from experience of myself and some others, Korean nowadays,if one is not rich; I think Korea, relatively, offers us what Japan did 20 or 30 years ago.

Tomo as was!
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - tracey
Oh No! dont say this, Im so convince that Skoda (Fabia though) is a well made car - Which Car? won 2001,2002 Superminin of the year reports its a low cost reliable car etc etc feels expensive etc etc - Im about to switch from a Rav 4 - extremely reliable and well made and sorry to part with it to a Fabia which is Skoda - I hope this is a one off rumour cause I would hate to buy something which is going to need new stuff at only a few thousand miles!
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - THe Growler
European workers are truculent and hard to manage, legislation and nanny rules are oppressive to the point of making management spend more time on compliance with half-baked EU nonsense produced by pimply seat warmers in Brussels who never contributed a bean to human or financial capital but simply consume it, than producing the product, quality control is not an integral manufacturing procedure but something done after the product rolls off the line and to minimal standards, the suits with MBA's but no real busines smarts control the direction of the business I could go on but the point has been made. Result=junk.

Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Thommo
To be pedantic Czech Republic is not part of EU yet.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Blue {P}
I won't mention the Nissan Sunderland plant being the single most efficient car factory in either Europe or the world, I can never remember which... :-)

Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - bartycrouch
I belive the workers at Wolfsburg used to refer to their cars as the "cheapest hand-made cars you can buy" as so much of the rectification was done at the end of the production line.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Imd
Tracey, I have had a Skoda Fabia TDi Elegance for 2 & 1/2 years, and it has been the best small car I have ever had.

Totally reliable, very well made with rock solid construction, very strong passenger cage (its quite heavy for its size at 1232 Kg).

It's a great short ot long distance car, with fine handling and steering. Driving position is supportive and endlessly flexible too. My average consumption is 58MPG, and I don't hang about. It also has a high efficiency air-con system which does not seem to affect the consumption at all.

The TDi has particularly quick in-gear acceleration (which is all that really matters). With 240 Nm of torque, it fairly powers uphill even with a full load.

I haven't been able to fault it, and intend to keep it a long time. Can't wait to see what the new Octavia will be like in 2005!

Hope this helps.

Regards, Ian

PS The Skoda Fabia was designed by the same chap who did the new Bentley (Dirk Van Bruegel) !!!!

Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Andrew-T
Tracey - although the Fabia won Car of the Year in 2001/2, that can tell you nothing about reliability as it had hardly hit the road then. Twould be interesting to know with benefit of hindsight which 2001 car would win it now.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Soupytwist
To answer your question, they're built by accountants. That's not unique to Skoda it's just the way things are in large multinational companies.

With regard to the specific problems you mention, you don?t say how old the car is but it?s not covered many miles in it?s life and Felicias haven?t been made for at least three years. Therefore it?s probably time the cambelt was changed irrespective of how far the car has travelled, the change interval will be stated in both miles covered and time elapsed so even if you don?t cover the miles you?ve still got to change it after the recommended time has elapsed, just be grateful you didn?t find out the hard way that it needed changing.

As for the gearbox and suspension, well the gearbox should last more than 19,000 miles and without knowing the specifics of the suspension fault it?s hard to comment but I have my suspicions.

And don't go to the dealer, find a decent independent VW specialist to do the work - the 60,000 mile service on these cars costs more than they're worth at a main dealer.

Matthew Kelly
No, not that one.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - glowplug
I can't agree with the Growlers comment about European workers, I seem to remember Toyota stating that the workers in the Tyne were among the best in the world. And no I'm no car worker and I'm no geordie either. Good management along with good workers equals good products and vice versa.

Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Aprilia
How do they deal with their 'truculent workers' in Asia? I seem to remember that a couple of years back the riot police were regular visitors at Hyundai's plants! Breaking a few arms and legs obviously helps motive the prouction workers. The Far Eastern companies also seem to have their own fair share of financial problems (Nissan now owned by Renault; Daewoo by GM; Mazda 49% by Ford etc.).
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Jonathan {p}
I can't agree with the Growlers comment about European workers, I
seem to remember Toyota stating that the workers in the Tyne
were among the best in the world. And no I'm no
car worker and I'm no geordie either. Good management along with
good workers equals good products and vice versa.

Toyota employ derbians, not geordies (1).
Nissan employ maccams and geordies (1).

(1) no allowance has been made for cross-country workforce migration.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - eMBe {P}
I had mistakenly thought that the Felicia was not a true VW design, although it might have shared some components with the old Polo. But HJ says it is the old Polo.

Just like the new Fabia, which is the new Polo under the skin.

Reading HJ's car-by-car on the Felicia, it is worrying to note his comment " High 7 point death rate from accidents in this model. "

Note: {P} - indicates that I am advertising that my profile can be viewed.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - mare
I thought that the Felicia was an update of the Favorit, from 1990. The Felicia is the last of the old Skodas, the Fabia, Octavia and Superb sharing a lot with Polo, Golf / Bora and Passat respectiveley.

It's unfortunate that this Felicia has had problems, my Octavia has done 91000 in three and a half years with little problem.

The accountants are quite clever though, use the same bits and get three or four different cars. Shame BL couldn't get it to work.

The Octavia's not as well built as my '90G Corolla was though. That was a very nice car.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Another John H

Yes, the Felicia is the "Volkswagenised" Favorit: fit and finish improved, and some bits borrowed from the corporate parts bin, but still the same basic old car - which wasn't designed to survive having a rubbish skip lorry falling on it.
I doubt there's much in that price range, even with high N-cap ratings, which would.

Regarding guarantees - they're commonly 3 year, all in. So the timescale on the OPs ongoing problems is about right.
Our total was both parts of the exhaust (school run), and a leaking sunroof (as per HJ comments), aside from that it has worked - apart from a gummed up throttle body/butterfly valve which caused stalling at times.

We have had a diesel one on (free) loan for a couple of days when SWMBOs 1.3 was having its (free) services: there's a _lot_ of torque - perhaps the 'box isn't quite up to it ( did you use it for towing anything heavy? ).
It was also rather nose heavy - again, as per HJs comments.

I suppose Skoda must make the odd lemon.
But there are folk out there who can break anything, and garages which introduce more problems than they solve (suspension fail on passenger side?): I guess it's part of the human condition.


John H
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Armitage Shanks{P}
To be rather pedantic, it must be that the car is built by engineers but to a specefication and cost base ordered by accountants!
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Kuang
I own a 93 Favorit, which was built *just* before the high compression engine became standard and all the other VW bits were parcelled in during the second half of that year.

The thing cost me £500 last year, in fantastic condition with 29k on the clock (coming from an OAP driver who was the second owner). I wasn't too bothered about the low mileage as the engine ran sweetly and is even better after an italian tuneup or seven, and it had a full MOT plus new tyres and a full new exhaust.

It's only covered an extra 6000 miles since then, and has needed all new shocks, a new N/S CV, both CV boots replacing, steering column bushes replacing (after they were on the verge of falling out), a new wheel bearing on the fron N/S after the old one collapsed and crunched the disc into the pads, and umpteen other little odds and s**s.

It still has

* a split seal on the O/S balljoint which is an indicator of coming trouble (the N/S one had already been replaced)

* siezed rear wiper motor (I don't feel like paying £90 for a new one - ever tried finding them at breakers? These things just seem to keep running for most people)

* occasional hissy fits from the electrics

* vents that run slightly hot whatever you do

* An amazingly obstructive gearshift

* reverse gear meshes badly, first often not at all

* clutch judder on lift off

I know a lot of people love them, but on balance, it wasn't worth it...
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - lezer
To answer a few questions asked. No it has not been used for towing, it does not have a towbar and they do not live down a bumpy lane (suspension failure) And yes it had to have the leaking sunroof fixed last year and it\'s just coming to it\'s second MOT not yet 4 years old. With paying out £800 for a new gearbox at 19,000m, putting right the top suspension and now looking at £1000 for a rebore at under 23,000m. This was not a good car and wonder if it was of merchantable quality. No wonder VW deleted the felicia
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Soupytwist
23,000 miles in 4 years. I think that tells its own story and may be behind the engine problems.
Matthew Kelly
No, not that one.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - lezer
>>>23,000m in 4 years may be behind the engine problem.
That's nearly 6,000m a year. Although this car was bought for retirement years it is not used for shopping runs which usualy gum up the system by not expelling the condensation, I knew a guy whose engine went rusty inside only doing the shopping run on a saturday(useing his moped during the week) but thats another story.

And "YES" no keyways on cam or crankshaft!!
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Morris Ox
Careful of repeating rumours, lezer, no matter how much your experience makes you eant to embrace them. It's serious stuff.

What exactly do you mean about sprockets, by the way? Are you absolutely sure?

I think Skoda's are largely pretty good. But since they're wrought of the same stuff that VW's are the repetition of problems which afflict some VWs shouldn't be altogether surprising.

Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - sean
Lezer, my friend, I think there is a lot that you are not telling us here.

A new gearbox for £800. I think not. Certainly not a new one. What, pray, was up with the old one?

The camshaft pulley (no sprockets there) is not pegged to the shaft to facilitate the millimetric adjustment needed to perfectly time the new belt. (Using feeler gauges on the locked shaft, the pulley is loosened and tightened up in precisely the correct place).

No fault there, just design required by high performance requirements. When did you hear of a cam pulley loosening on the shaft?

If you give me more details, I'll try to help you.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - lezer
I Don't see how you can help me Sean, unless you have a fat wallet.
The "NEW" gearbox was/Cost £600 (I know so) Because VW kindly allowed £200 out of the goodness of their hearts because the other (I wont say old) box started whining in 5th gear at 19,000m.
I always thought a pulley was for V type belts and sprockets had teeth? If they are fitted without keyways for perfomance requirements then so be it! But there is another thread about a 1.9td I believe in a Passat which repeatedly jumps a notch on the sprocket/pulley, or is it loosening on the shaft??
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - sean
I can help you because I am an engineer in the motor manufacturing industry.

If you PM me on

with the VIN number or registration number of the affected vehicle,and the name of the registered keeper, I will ascertain precisely what has happened.
I wish to help, but disagree with your precis of events, especially with your summary of BB's Passat, and with your description of pulleys and sprockets.

I have no wish to fall out with you, but what you report bears no similarity with my findings ie worn bores, gearbox so damaged it had to be renewed, price of a NEW, factory gearbox, etc.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Aprilia
I agree that you would not get a new gearbox for £800. I spent part of Easter rebuilding a VW gearbox (failed just out of warranty with only 30k on it - it had be 'whining' for some time, but the dealer told the owner that 'they all do that'). Anyway, the *parts* cost over £800 and I had to wait nearly a month for a new layshaft to come from Germany (not helped by VWMK having the part wrongly listed with an 'L' suffix, rather than an 'A', which apparently makes a big difference). The owner was going frantic. All is well now, thank God.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - malteser
I've had my Fabia tdi comfort for 2.5 years. Nice car - no problems - good economy (55 mpg ish)
Buy one!
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - malteser
For my sins, some years ago I owned a garage with a Lada franchise. We used to earn well out of warranty - labour at 90% of our published retail rate & parts at pretty good rates too.

Now there was a car that was built by idiots, but marketed by accountants!

It was possible to make £1000 gross out of a Riva retailing at £3000!.

£300 in the car, £300 for targeted bonus, £300 from HP commission and often a banger px at £100.

The then MD used to say at dealer conferences "Ladas, Gentlemen, are cars to sell, not to drive !"
Happy days!
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - sean
I sometimes wonder why I get abrasive and grumpy.

This has been in my diary now for over a fortnight.

I would have helped this poster, if I could have verified the details of his complaint.

I think I asked for a reasonable response.

I have heard absolutely nothing.

I ask some of the brighter posters here to help me draw a suitable conclusion, please.
Skoda, Built by Engineers or Accountants - Gregory P

I think Skoda will never beat the old German cars or any Japanese car for reliability. There are many unhappy customers than ever before for Skoda?s and Volkswagon from many surveys. Even the reports in this years Which? shows that this is case. Volkswagon became below average for reliability, and is in the same league as Citroen now!

But, I also think Japanese are going downhill. Take the Toyota Avensis: this car only got 96% for reliability. However, Honda scored 99% (Jazz) although the sample size was smaller and caused confusion. What I mean is that the Jazz scored highly, but then we assume not only was the sample size too small to be fully representative but also that the owners cover less miles compared to say the Avensis.

I hope a new manufacturer will enter the market like Kymco did in the scooter industry. Why? Well, any scooterist with good knowledge knows these bikes are very reliable (based on Honda engine). But, not only are they more reliable than Honda themselves, parts backup is excellent, parts are a lot cheaper, build quality is as good as Honda and they cost less. But most scooterists ignore this and buy Italian and regret it. Because Kymco is not well known as a brand (like triumph was) consumers will buy what they think are the only Japanese scooters about.


Value my car