Both Skoda and Audi are owned by Volkswagen which means that they share many parts such as engines, interior switches, and lots of electronics. You are able to tell the similarities between certain models like the Skoda Octavia and the Audi A4 because they also share similar dimensions and scales.
However, this does not mean that Skoda is on the same level as Audi, because it isn’t. Skoda is a more economy-level brand and their cars are not as refined, nor luxurious. Audi is known to be heavily technology-driven with more features and more innovative comfort and driving solutions.
All of this makes Audi models a lot more complex thus more prone to issues. Skoda prioritizes simplicity and convenience which means that you will not find all the next-gen technologies on most Skoda models, even if you go for the top-spec fully equipped versions.
Audi’s on the other hand are vastly better-equipped because they are available with virtually everything you’d expect from modern-day high-end luxury cars. Moreover, Audi offers more engine diversity which also means more diverse problems.
Audi reliability – Mediocre and heavily dependent on proper maintenance
The Volkswagen Auto Group owns Audi, Skoda, VW, Seat, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. Between these models, there are visible distinctions because VAG does not want Audi models to hamper Skoda sales and vice versa.
This means that VAG differentiates these brands to encompass different segments of the market which ask for different sets of priorities. Audi is a true executive luxury brand which means that Audi cars need to prioritize luxury, comfort, technology, safety, and desirability.
To achieve that, Audi is willing to sacrifice reliability for obvious reasons. The main one is the overall level of engineering and technology complexity a modern-day executive luxury car needs to satisfy in order to be market competitive.
Furthermore, Audi customers are willing to spend that bit extra money on luxury, technology, status, and comfort. Audi sells cars even if some of them are indeed considered unreliable.
Skoda reliability – Between average and above average
As mentioned in the beginning, VAG has separated Audi from Skoda in order for them not to reside in the same market segment.
Skoda is focused on making affordable, economy-level, and simple cars that are more affordable and more accessible as opposed to VW, and especially Audi. Even though some higher-end Skoda models do somewhat bridge the gap between these two different market philosophies, overall, Audi is a step above.
The main differences between these two are the contrasting levels of complexity and refinement. Audi is willing to employ a more luxurious strategy in order to make a car ride a bit better such as an air suspension system. These systems are known to cause more issues compared to regular coils found on most Skoda models, yet these are not as comfortable.
The differences are not huge, and some models are more similar than others, but overall, Skoda makes more reliable cars.
Conclusion – Skoda seems to be a more reliable brand overall
Because Audi makes more complex cars and because Skoda prioritizes reliability more, Skoda seems to be the more reliable brand overall. However, given the fact that many Skoda and Audi use the very same parts from the VAG parts bin, these differences are inconsistent.
Some Audi models are as reliable or arguably even more reliable than some Skoda models, and vice versa. Nevertheless, you need to maintain these cars properly in order for them to be reliable at all. German cars are notoriously difficult and expensive to own if you don’t do all of your maintenance accordingly.
Maintenance-wise, Audi’s are more expensive to maintain, especially if you go for larger displacement engines. Most Audi’s also come with Quattro AWD which further boosts the weight and the complexity and thus makes Audi models more prone to issues.
However, Audi does make higher-quality cars. Even the most high-end Skoda is noticeably cheaper than a mid-spec Audi. Some people are willing to spend more on reliability and maintenance because it makes more sense to do so in a car that is simply better and more enjoyable overall.
Is Skoda more popular than VW?
Audi is the more desirable brand, but Skoda seems to sell like crazy in the past decade or so. Some car magazines and outlets even say that “Skoda is so good that it makes VW look bad”. VW has been hit hard with the Dieselgate scandal and the legal costs VW has to pay are measured in tens of billions of dollars.
To countereffect this, VW cars are now of lesser quality when compared to pre-Dieselgate developed cars because the new Mk8 Golf does seem cheaper when compared to an Mk7.5 Golf. If you pair that with the growing popularity and quality Skoda seems to offer these days, it is rather clear that Skoda is now competing with VW even though VW owns Skoda.
Should I buy an Audi or a Skoda?
It depends on what you want from a car. If you are someone who tends to travel long distances and you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, an Audi is a better choice. Furthermore, if you love cars and you are able to spend more money, an Audi is always going to feel more special.
On the other hand, Skoda offers well-equipped cars at a cost that drastically undercuts Audi. Skoda is the preferable choice for those who are value-oriented, are not into cars, and just want a regular up-to-date daily driver.
Why is Skoda not sold in the US?
After years of discussions and investigations, Skoda has finally decided that they are not coming to the US, at least not for the foreseeable future. VW thinks that Skoda is not going to sell all that well in the US because they think that an Indian invasion is a better choice when compared to the US.
The Indian market seems to express higher demand for Skoda models and that’s why VW decided to focus on India, as opposed to the US.