Skodas in a spin over missing rear wheels

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The Independent Online
WHAT GOES faster than a Skoda? The rear wheel, of course. This is not the latest Skoda joke but yet another fault to develop on the much-derided Czech car. Half a dozen Skoda owners have found this out the hard way, by seeing a rear wheel, complete with part of the axle, fly past them while their car spun round in a flurry of sparks and screeching.

No one has been hurt in the incidents. Indeed, the hapless Skoda owners report that the most serious problem seems to be finding the AWOL wheels after they have spun off into the surrounding countryside.

Thomas Mulcahy's Skoda has lost a wheel twice, each time when it was being driven by one of his two daughters: 'The first time, Susan didn't know what had happened as she saw this wheel hit the school gates in Enenagh, the local town. Then she realised the car was lopsided. The second time it happened to my other daughter Elizabeth, and the wheel went far away into a field. It took ages to find.'

Charles Skeeles, the PR man whose job is to stem the flow of Skoda jokes, insisted that this sort of thing happens to all types of car. He said the blame lay in improper servicing of the axle which needs a special tool to dismantle. The incidents, according to Which? magazine which has monitored them, are not related to a previous bout of wheel losses on Skodas as occurred on different models.

Unfortunately, Skoda jokes are set to end since the company has been taken over by Volkswagen which, according to Mr Skeeles, 'over the next four years will aim to achieve one of the more remarkable transformations of a car company'.

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