The History of Skoda
Skoda was founded over 100 years ago in December 1895, but not as you might think! Dedicated cyclists Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement began a bicycle manufacturing company, which at this point they named Slavia. The bicycle business was booming, so the pair opted to take the plunge and add motors. By 1899 they were building motorbikes and had adapted their name to Laurin & Klement Co. After a successful stint, that included multiple racing victories, they began to replace motorbikes with cars from 1905.
SKODA was Founded
The pair continued to enjoy success and their debut car, the Voiturette A became a huge success and to this day still has a well-deserved place in Czech motoring history. The company’s reputation began to grow in the international market and by 1914 it was called into action for military service. They went on to supply a range of trucks, buses, agriculture machinery and aeroplane engines, and with it the need for a reliable partner was realised, so in 1925 the friends merged with Pizen Skodovka Co and became SKODA.
The merger didn’t initially go to plan, SKODA struggled for a while to gain momentum but the introduction of the Type A SKODA Popular provided the breakthrough and became iconic in the late 1930’s. The Popular was an affordable family car that weighed only 650kg and had a top speed of 50mph, and was the perfect basis for the company to build upon. It provided immensely popular (excuse the pun) thanks to its immense versatility, from ambulances and delivery vans to fantastic performances in the Monte Carlo rally.
Post War SKODA
World War II almost brought SKODA to a halt entirely as the German invasion of Czechoslovakia took place, but upon the war’s resolution, SKODA became a national enterprise and single-handedly took complete control of passenger vehicles across the country. The Tudor was developed and exported far and wide whilst the 1200 made huge strides forward, helping to modernise the brand.
From 1960 to 1990 SKODA continued to build on its post-war platform and introduced a whole new range of models, including: the Octavia, Felicia, Rapid, MB and the Favorit, helping establish the brand in a competitive international market.
New SKODA Evoluton
Tougher times so returned with the political changes surrounding the Berlin Wall. Economic struggles meant the company looked to a strong foreign partner to join to help continue growth. By December 1990, the management team had decided a joint-venture with Volkswagen would be the best solution for to take the company forwards and joined Volkswagen, SEAT and Audi in the Volkswagen Group. The move has proved a hugely beneficial one with SKODA going from strength-to-strength with their new stunning range posting record figures and providing millions of happy drivers with cars. The future looks very bright indeed!