Brand welcomes and celebrates “kilometer king” Peter Kirchhoff from Sprockhövel near Wuppertal, Germany, at ŠKODA’s seat in Mladá Boleslav.
A ŠKODA Fabia 1.9 l TDI 74 kW (101 PS), which was built in the year 2000, has reached one million kilometers! Its owner, Peter Kirchhoff, from Sprockhövel near Wuppertal, meticulously planned this moment for a long time: Today, at 11:30 am CEST, he pulled up his Fabia to the company museum in Mladá Boleslav. With great precision, the odometer displayed the sensational reading of 999,999 kilometers. At the historic site, Kirchhoff was welcomed and congratulated by ŠKODA representatives and was enthusiastically celebrated by numerous German fans of the Czech brand who had accompanied him on his trip.
“Together with Peter Kirchhoff, we are delighted about this great achievement. At the same time, we are very proud that he has reached such a result with a vehicle of the ŠKODA brand. No-one can wish for better evidence of the quality and reliability of our cars,” says Dr. Martin Hrdlicka, the representative of the Technical Development Department at ŠKODA AUTO a.s.. At the time, Hrdlicka collaborated in the construction of the first generation Fabia. “Even at the time of its presentation at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1999, the Fabia caused a stir,” he says. “The very same year, we won the first ‘Golden Steering Wheel’ award with it. For us, it was the confirmation that we had the finger on the pulse of the time with this car.”
That piece of news, as well as the unanimous praise of the trade press, the affordable base price of DEM 18,798 in those days and the headline “Best-in-class in insurance ratings” tipped the scales for Peter Kirchhoff to decide upon a Fabia. On July 3, 2000, he received the key to his silver-colored ŠKODA Fabia. “When I picked it up, the odometer read eleven kilometers,” Peter Kirchhoff remembers. Since then, the business graduate has logged every kilometer driven and every cent spent on the car. “At the time, I never dreamed of reaching the odometer reading of one million kilometers exactly 13 years to the day of accepting the car,” he smiles. It is also thanks to his painstaking accounting that the entire life of the vehicle is documented so precisely. ŠKODA AUTO Germany has been in regular contact with Peter Kirchhoff since 2005 when he first sent a letter to the editing staff of the customer magazine ‘Extratour’, which has been reporting every one of his records ever since.
Peter Kirchhoff and his Fabia crossed the 500,000 kilometer threshold in July 2007. In those seven years valiant Fabia was for him reliable partner: “Even after having driven half a million kilometers, I still had the first exhaust under the car,” Kirchhoff gushes. “Passing a general technical inspection with this car did not cause me any big headaches! Defects? Not here!”
For years, the ŠKODA service partner Betgen & Potthoff in Hamm has been taking care of Peter Kirchhoff’s Fabia. During the preliminary check prior to the obligatory ‘TÜV’ inspection in June, the car was once again given a close examination. The experienced master mechanic Werner Potthoff was excited about the overall condition. “The car has stayed very young and is in top condition, especially regarding its exterior. If you wouldn’t know that it has actually covered almost a million kilometers – you wouldn’t recognize that right away.” The service advisor Matthias Lütkhoff: “The car is in its original condition. The exhaust, engine, clutch and transmission are parts that were installed by the factory. Thanks to regular maintenance the vehicle has achieved this enormous mileage,” says Lütkhoff and adds with a grin: “By now, we know every screw by its first name.” To make sure that there won’t be any issues during the general technical inspection on July 1, the brake discs and brake pads were replaced at the ŠKODA service partner in Hamm. Afterwards, the Fabia immediately received a new sticker. His car only let Kirchhoff down once during their long relationship. “At 305,000 kilometers, a porous wire harness caused a breakdown on the road,” Kirchhoff remembers.
The members of the ŠKODA community, with whom Peter Kirchhoff has been in contact for years, provided the “kilometer millionaire’ and his Fabia with a superb appearance. They are all experts in automotive care and gave the little endurance runner an all-round care par excellence. Its owner was excited: “It looks like new now. Only when you look really closely is it possible to recognize a few dents in the lacquer.”
Even after having reached one million kilometers at the birthplace of the car, Peter Kirchhoff will remain loyal to his Fabia. He is already looking at a next generation model of the popular car from the Czech Republic. The odometer of his faithful Fabia will no longer display any kilometers beyond the millionth one. After the 999,999 the display will only show six dashes. There’s simply no room for the seventh digit. But the meticulous businessman from Sprockhövel wants to keep track of every driven kilometer by using the trip counter. “If the car plays along - and I assume it will – then there will be more records in the future,” he hopes. Once the third generation of the Fabia sedan is introduced in the market and he will have received the successor model, Peter Kirchhoff wants to donate his Fabia, which has written a piece of automotive history, to the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav.
Worldwide, the ŠKODA Fabia continues to be counted among the most popular models of the brand with the winged arrow in the logo. In Germany, it is held in high esteem among buyers and is one of the top-selling import models. The car usually alternates ranking positions with the Octavia. In 2012 alone, more than 40,000 vehicles of this model series were registered in Germany. Worldwide, a quarter million customers chose a Fabia last year.