May I add one more message to the Skoda auto discussion?
In 1998 I checked into buying a new Skoda and the nearest dealership was, if I remember correctly, in the Bahamas. I contacted Skoda Info Service in Prague about the possibility of Skoda selling cars in the U.S. and they told me it was highly unlikely as they do not have the ability to produce cars in the numbers needed for a market the size of the U.S.
Also, as Skoda has been part of the Volkswagen Group since 1991, their cars may already meet U.S. safety and emission standards. And, as Skoda is part of the Volkswagen Group, I suppose it would be fairly easy for Volkswagen to sell the Skoda line here in Volkwagen dealerships. However, I think the Skoda line is pretty much a clone of the Volkswagen line: the Skoda Octavia would be a Volkswagen Passat, the Skoda Felicia would be a Golf or Jetta. So, it would not make sense for VW to sell the same car under two names, although American car companies have been doing it for years.
By the way, Skodas were sold in the U.S. back in the 1950's and into the late 1960's. They may have been sold for a longer period in Canada.
For those of you who live in the Chicago area, Ervin Bittner will host the first annual all Czech car and motorcycle gathering at his home in West Chicago on October 15th. Anyone interested can contact me and I will give you Mr. Bittner's phone number for driving instructions. And, Mr. Bittner has loaned several of his motorcycles for display at the National Czech and Slovak Museum. www.NCSML.org
Also loaned to the National Czech and Slovak museum is Corvair expert Larry Claypool's Czech Tatra T-603. I believe the Tatra is back home now, but a picture may still be on the NCSML website. Larry's Skoda MB-1000 will be on display at Mr. Bittner's home on the 15th.
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