Despite being controversial, the strategy lies at the heart of the renaissance at Skoda, VW's outpost in the Czech Republic.
Yet it's tempting to wonder how long it will be before the Skoda success story develops into something of an embarrassment for its German parent. The question is prompted by the Superb. Now on long term test with Fleet News, this newcomer has the makings of a sure-fire hit because it borrows much more than just underpinnings from the Passat, the benchmark model in the medium class.
Apart from relatively minor cosmetic changes to its nose and tail, the Superb has the same, smoothly rounded silhouette as its pacesetting German cousin. But it will not have escaped the attention of hardnosed fleet buyers the Czech alternative not only costs less to buy – it also provides a superior package in one critical area.
Because it has an extra 100cm in body length, the Superb boasts a more spacious interior than any rival in the sector and treats rear seat occupants with the stretching room of a limousine. And after 4,000 miles, our 2.5-litre V6 turbodiesel version is also proving to have the upmarket demeanour to match.
Powerful and at all times subdued, the car has the air of executive transport with all the trappings, including an efficient and unobtrusive climate control system, excellent interior layout and a host of neat detail touches. One of the items included as standard – an umbrella built into the rear nearside passenger door – means the Comfort version of the Superb is also particularly well equipped to cope with what passes for an English summer.
Company car tax bill 2002 (22% taxpayer): £74.80 per month