Skoda outshines its German parent to scoop top-firm award
Skoda is the best motor company, according to 30,000 What Car? magazine readers in Britain. Porsche came second and Daihatsu third in the vote for best manufacturer in the 2010 What Car? Readers Awards.
Readers rated Saab, which was taken over earlier this year, as the worst overall manufacturer.
The best car award went to the BMW 1 Series Coupe, with the Land Rover Defender second and the Alfa Romeo Mito third.
Worst car, overall, was the Ford Focus Coupe Cabriolet.
What Car? editor-in-chief Steve Fowler said: "The results suggest that no one ever regrets buying a 1 Series Coupe, with the vast majority of readers dishing out a full five-star verdict.
"The BMW was complimented for its driving ability as well as its fuel consumption. It's a worthy winner.''
These were the winners of the individual categories: Supermini: Alfa Romeo Mito; Executive and luxury: Mercedes-Benz CLS;
Crossover and 4x4: Land Rover Defender; Coupe: BMW 1 Series Coupe; Estate: Mini Clubman; Small family: Skoda Octavia; Open top: Lotus Elise; Family/compact executive: Volkswagen Passat CC; MPV: Ford C-Max.
This is remarkable turnaround for Skoda as for years the company's reputation was so poor that its owners would have been well advised to give up making cars and go back to repairing bikes -- which is how it started life at the end of the 19th century.
Between the wars Skodas were regarded as reliable, if not exactly cars of beauty, writes David Millward, Daily Telegraph Transport Editor.
The reputation for reliability continued in the aftermath of the war before the company hurtled rapidly downhill in the Sixties.
Not only were the cars ugly, but in the Seventies and Eighties most western motorists regarded Skoda cars as rust-buckets.
The Czech company was bought by Volkswagen in 1990 and Skodas suddenly became good value -- thanks to their cheaper production costs.
Now its reputation is even better than its German parent, with many motorists regarding the Skoda as among the most stylish and reliable cars on the road.