SKODA REVIEWS & PRESS
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Skoda Favorit in Canada – 100 imported! By Patrick LeClerc – Jan 2015
In conversation with the owner of former Quebec Skoda Dealer Vinci Automobiles Inc., Patrick has uncovered a story that possibly up to 200 Skoda Favorits may have made it to Canadian roads in 1989-1990. According to Tony Vinci,
“ one year before Skocar went bust, he and a bunch of other dealerships grouped together to make an order of 2000 Skoda Favorits; the minimum number required for Skocar to import the new model. Of the 2000 ordered, only 1000 ended up being produced for the Canadian market. Of the 1000 produced, only 222 passed the inspection by Transport Canada. The others had to be re-sent to Czechoslovakia to have stronger bumpers fitted due to archaic Transport Canada regulations that required that only the manufacturer can alter a vehicle to make it conform to Canadian standards.
This jacked up the price of the cars significantly, coupled with the fact that labour costs in Czechoslovakia were significantly increasing. Ultimately, this $5000-$7000 car now cost about $9000 back when a Honda Civic cost only $7000. This made many dealers give up on the Favorit, they felt that at a higher price than the Civic, that it would not sell. Of the 222 Favorits legally imported and certified, 122 were sent back to Czechoslovakia, and only 100 were kept by the Canadian dealers still willing to hold on to the car. Then, Skocar went out of business.
To make things worse, Tony wanted to be made an official parts distributor for Skoda at the time the Favorit was a real possibility. As a distributor, he had to have a minimum of 25 cars in stock and $200,000 worth of parts. The end of Skocar and the Favorit meant that he had a ton of vehicle parts that were worth very little. Sometime in the 1990s, his disappointment in the terrible end of the venture frustrated him to the point where he put everything in a container, and sent it to a scrapyard for a mere 700$.
In all, I’m 100% sure that of the original order of 2000 cars, between 100 and 200 found their way on Canadian roads. Tony still owns his, and it’s like new. He has hardly used it. He absolutely loves it and says the build quality was amazing. Having ridden in a Skoda Eltra and owned my 135 GLi, I
can confirm that as well. He is certain that had the Favorit been given a chance, it would have been a huge hit. Even the RWD Skodas were doing well by 1989. His dealership was steadily increasing sales. There was absolutely no sign of slowing down at Vinci Automobiles Inc. In 1979, he only sold 25.
By 1989, his little dealer was selling 325 a year.
His dealership was the only one allowed to give 5 year warranties on cars, all other dealers had to stick to 2. After Skocar went bust, he had brand new RWD Skodas in his inventory until 1994! In ’94, he sold them all at half price to I can’t remember what or whom with a 2 year warranty. This is where they were most popular according to him. Every now and then, he still gets calls from people, primarily from that area, asking for parts. He even went as far as saying that there are still “lots” of Skodas in Hull
Cheers! I hope these discoveries made your day
Skoda Cars imported to Canada – Official Numbers – Dec 2013
1983: 1060 Skodas Imported (1054 120LS, 5 120GLS, 1 Rapid)
1984: 2156 Skodas Imported (2 120L, 2030, 120GLS, 124 Rapid)
1985:1929 Skodas Imported (250 120L, 1260 120GLS, 419 Rapid)
1986:1391 Skodas Imported (100 120L, 1110 120GLS, 191 Rapid)
1987: 0 Skodas Imported
1988: 237 Skodas Imported (180 135GLi, 57 Skoda 120GLS)*
1989: 1 Skoda imported(1 135GLi)
TOTAL: 6771 Skodas imported by Skocar 1983-89
SOURCE: Skoda-Auto Archives, Czech Republic, Jakub Stehlik