|Founded||1895 as Laurin & Klement|
|Founder(s)||Václav Laurin and Václav Klement|
|Headquarters||Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic|
|Number of locations||Manufacturing facilities in China, Czech Republic, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Bulgaria|
|Area served||Eurasia, South America, Africa, Australasia|
|Key people||H.C. Winfried Vahland (Chairman of the Board of Directors), Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Supervisory Board)|
|Production output||949,412 units (2012)|
|Services||Automotive financial services|
|Revenue||€10.4 billion (2012) ($13.5 billion USD)|
|Profit||€712 million (2012) ($1.9 billion USD)|
|Total assets||Kč135.7 billion (2010) ($8.33 billion USD)|
|Employees||>32 000 (2012)|
Škoda Auto (Czech pronunciation: [ˈʃkoda] ( listen)), more commonly known as Škoda, is an automobile manufacturer based in the Czech Republic. Škoda became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group in 2000, positioned as the entry brand to the group. Its total global sales reached 939,200 cars in 2012.
Škoda Works was established as an arms manufacturer in 1859 and Škoda Auto (and its predecessors) is one of five oldest companies that begun producing cars and has an unbroken history (together with Tatra, Daimler, Opel and Peugeot).
Laurin & Klement, Slavia 
The origins of what became Škoda Auto go back to the early 1890s where, like many long-established car manufacturers, a company started out manufacturing bicycles. It was 1894, and 26-year old Václav Klement, who was a bookseller in Mladá Boleslav, Bohemia, today's Czech Republic (then part of Austria-Hungary), was unable to obtain spare parts to repair his German bicycle.
If you would like an answer to your inquiry, you should try writing in a language we can understand.
Klement returned his bicycle to the manufacturers, Seidel and Naumann, with a letter, in Czech, asking them to carry out repairs, only to receive a reply, in German, stating: "If you would like an answer to your inquiry, you should try writing in a language we can understand". A disgusted Klement, despite not having technical experience, decided to start a bicycle repair shop, which he and Václav Laurin opened in 1895 in Mladá Boleslav. Before going into business partnership with Klement, Laurin was established as a bicycle manufacturer in the nearby town of Turnov.
In 1898, after moving to their newly-built factory, the pair bought a Werner "motorcyclist",[nb 1] which was produced by French manufacturer Werner Brothers. Laurin & Klement's first motorcyclette, powered by an engine mounted on the handlebars driving the front wheels, proved dangerous and unreliable—an early incident on it cost Laurin a front tooth. To design a safer machine with its structure around the engine, the pair wrote to German ignition specialist Robert Bosch for advice on a different electromagnetic system. The pair's new Slavia motorcycle made its debut in 1899.
In 1900, when the company had a workforce of 32, Slavia exports began, with 150 machines shipped to London for the Hewtson firm. Shortly afterwards, the press credited them as makers of the first motorcycle. The first model, Voiturette A, was a success and the company was established both within Austria-Hungary and internationally. By 1905 the firm was manufacturing automobiles, which makes it the second oldest car manufacturer in the Czech lands after Tatra.
After World War I the Laurin & Klement company began producing trucks, but in 1924, after running into problems and being hit by a fire, the company sought a new partner.
Meanwhile Škoda Works, an arms manufacturer and a multi-sector concern which had become one of the largest industrial enterprises in Europe and the largest one in Czechoslovakia, started manufacturing cars in cooperation with Hispano-Suiza. Škoda sought to enlarge its non-arms manufacturing base and acquired Laurin & Klement in 1925. Most of the later production took place under Škoda's name.
An assembly line was used for production since 1930. That year also a formal spin-off of the car manufacture into a new company, Akciová společnost pro automobilový průmysl or ASAP, took place. ASAP remained a wholly owned subsidiary of Škoda Works and continued to sell cars under Škoda marque. Apart from the factory in Mladá Boleslav it included also the firm's representation, sales offices and services, as well as a central workshop in Prague. At the time, the car factory in Mladá Boleslav spanned over area of 215,000 m2 and employed 3,750 blue-collar and 500 white-collar workers.
After a decline during the economic depression, Škoda introduced a new line of cars in 1930s which significantly differed from its previous products. A new design of chassis with backbone tube and all-around independent suspension was developed under the leadership of chief engineer Vladimír Matouš and derived from the one first introduced by Hans Ledwinka in Tatra. First used on model Škoda 420 Standard in 1933, it aimed at solving insufficient torsional stiffness of the ladder frame.
The new design of chassis became the basis for models Popular (845-1,089 cc), Rapid (1165-1766 cc), Favorit (1802-2091 cc) and the Superb (2,5-4 L). While in 1933 Škoda had 14% share of the Czechoslovak car market and third position behind Praga and Tatra, the new line made it a market leader by 1936, with 39% share in 1938.
Post World War II 
When, by July 1945, the Mladá Boleslav factory had been reconstructed, production of Škoda's first post-World War II car, the 1101 series began. It was essentially an updated version of the pre-World War II Škoda Popular. In the autumn of 1945, Škoda (along with all large manufacturers) became part of the planned economy, which meant it was separated from the parent Škoda company[clarification needed]. In spite of unfavourable political conditions and losing contact with technical development in non-communist countries, Škoda retained a good reputation until the 1960s, producing models such as the Škoda 440 Spartak, 445 Octavia, Felicia and Škoda 1000 MB.
In the late 1980s, Škoda (then named Automobilové závody, národní podnik, Mladá Boleslav or AZNP) was still manufacturing cars that conceptually dated back to the 1960s. Rear engined models such as the Škoda 105/120, Estelle and Rapid sold steadily and performed well against more modern makes in races such as the RAC Rally in the 1970s and 1980s. They won their class in the RAC rally for 17 years running. They were powered by a 130 brake horsepower (97 kW), 1,289 cubic centimetres (78.7 cu in) engine. In spite of its dated image and being the subject of negative jokes, the Škoda remained a common sight on the roads of UK and Western Europe throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Sport versions of the Estelle and earlier models were produced, using "Rapid" as the version name. Soft-top versions were also available. The Rapid was once described as the 'poor man's Porsche', and had significant sales success in the UK during the 1980s.
- "Of course, that the Škoda became such a figure of fun was in part due to its ubiquity on Britain's roads. The company must have been doing something right." according to a BBC report on Škoda sales in 1980s.
In 1987 the Favorit model was introduced, and was one of a triumvirate of compact Western-influenced front wheel drive hatchbacks from the three main Eastern Bloc manufacturers around that time, the others being VAZ's Lada Samara and Zastava's Yugo Sana. The Favorit's appearance was designed by Italian design company Bertone. With some motor technology licensed from western Europe, but still using the Škoda-designed 1289 cc engine, Škoda engineers designed a car comparable to western production. The technological gap was still there, but began closing rapidly. The Favorits were very popular in Czechoslovakia and other Eastern Bloc countries. They also sold fairly well in Western Europe, especially in the UK and Denmark; they were regarded as solid and reliable, as well as having good value. The Favorit's trim levels continued to improve, and it was sold until the introduction of the Felicia in 1994.
Volkswagen Group subsidiary 
The fall of communism with the Velvet Revolution brought great changes to Czechoslovakia, and most industries were subject to privatisation. In the case of Škoda Automobile, the state authorities brought in a strong foreign partner. Volkswagen was chosen by the Czech government on December 9, 1990, and, as a result on March 28, 1991, a joint-venture partnership agreement with Volkswagen took place, marked by the transfer of a 30% share to the Volkswagen Group on April 16, 1991. In the following years, Škoda became the fourth brand of the German group, as the Volkswagen Group raised its equity share first on December 19, 1994, to 60.3%, followed on December 11, 1995, to 70%.
In the competition for Škoda, Volkswagen was pitted against French car-maker Renault, which lost because its strategic plan did not include producing high-value models in the Czech factories: Renault proposed to manufacture the Renault Twingo city car in the Škoda factories.
At the time the decision was made, privatisation to a major German company was somewhat controversial. However, it could be argued that the subsequent fortunes of other Eastern-Bloc automobile manufacturers such as Lada, AutoVAZ, and of Škoda Works itself – once Škoda Auto's parent company – suggested that Volkswagen's involvement was not necessarily a result of poor judgement.
Backed by Volkswagen Group expertise and investments, the design—both style and engineering—has improved greatly. The 1994 model Felicia was effectively a reskin of the Favorit, but quality improvements helped, and in the Czech Republic the car was good value for money and became popular. Volkswagen AG chairman Ferdinand Piëch personally choose Dirk van Braeckel as head of design, and the subsequent Octavia and Fabia models made their way to the demanding European Union markets. They are built on common Volkswagen Group floorpans. The Fabia is based on the A0 floorpan, although the Fabia was released a year before Volkswagen released their new Polo, it is based on the same floorpan.
The perception of Škoda in Western Europe has changed completely since the takeover by VW, in stark comparison to the reputation of the cars throughout the 1980s—often described as 'the laughing stock' of the automotive world. As technical development progressed and attractive new models were brought to market, Škoda's image was initially slow to improve. In the UK, a major turnabout was achieved with the ironic "It is a Škoda, honest" campaign, which was started in the early 2000s. In a 2003 advertisement on British television, a new employee on the production line is fitting Škoda badges on the car bonnets. When some attractive looking cars come along he stands back, not fitting the badge, since they look so good they cannot be Škodas. This market campaign worked by confronting Škoda's image problem head-on—a tactic which marketing professionals regard as high risk. Before the advertising campaign, it was common to hear tour guides in Bratislava making jokes about the Škoda, saying "How do you double the value of a Škoda? Fill up the petrol tank!" By 2005 Škoda was selling over 30,000 cars a year in the UK, a market share of over 1%. For the first time in its UK history, a waiting list developed for deliveries by Škoda. Škoda owners in the UK have consistently ranked the brand at or near the top of the J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey since the 2000s.
As of 2010[update], Škoda has several manufacturing and assembly plants, including one in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Škoda also has an assembly plant in the city of Aurangabad, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra which was established in 2001 as Škoda India Private Ltd.
In 2006, Škoda presented its brand new model Roomster, a small MPV with a unique design, which reflects future trends. At the end of December 2006, Škoda released the first official pictures of the new Fabia[dead link], a model that would replace the Fabia in 2007.
Later in 2008, Škoda released the first pictures of the face-lifted Octavia with new headlights, front grille and bumper, and a slightly restyled rear and interior. The revised car also features a new selection of engines including the 1.4 TFSI and new common rail diesel engines.
In 2005, the company produced 494,637 vehicles, and on 22 November 2006, produced the 500,000th vehicle of 2006, the first time in Škoda's long history that this figure had been reached. By the end of 2006, over 550,000 vehicles had been produced.
Volkswagen Group's Australian arm, Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA), announced that they would be returning Škoda, last sold in Australia in 1983, to the Australian car market in October 2007. As of 2012[update], the Fabia, Octavia, Roomster, Superb and Yeti are available in Australia.
Škoda started production in China in 2006. Its 2009 China sales—of three models Octavia, Superb, and Fabia—more than doubled from 2008, reaching 123,000 vehicles. Shanghai Volkswagen plans to build the Yeti SUV in 2011. In the second half of 2010, China became Škoda's largest market.
A new and redesigned logo was revealed for Škoda in March 2011.
In 2011, Škoda sold a record number of 875,000 cars, and it stated that it aimed to double its sales by 2018, as part of the Volkswagen Group's plan to become the largest car maker in the world.
History of sales 
|Škoda Favorit / Škoda Felicia||172,000||210,000||288,458||261,127||241,256||148,028||44,963||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−|
World Rally Championship 
Following a long history of class victories in lower levels of motorsport, Škoda became a participant in the FIA World Rally Championship in the 1999 season, with World Rally Car models of the Škoda Octavia. Škoda's best result with the Octavia WRC was Armin Schwarz's third place at the 2001 Safari Rally. From mid 2003, the Octavia was replaced by the smaller Škoda Fabia. Škoda used the 2004 season to develop the car further, but did not achieve much success the following season. However, at the season-ending Rally Australia, 1995 world champion Colin McRae was running second before retiring. Škoda then withdrew from the series, and the 2006 season saw Škoda represented by the semi-privateer Red Bull Škoda Team. Jan Kopecký drove the Fabia WRC to fifth place at the Rally Catalunya, and as late as the 2007 Rallye Deutschland the Fabia still achieved a fifth place result, again in the hands of Kopecký. Former works Ford and Citroen driver François Duval also drove a Fabia WRC in 2006 for the privateer First Motorsport team, achieving a sixth place on Rally Catalunya.
Super 2000 
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In 2009, Škoda entered the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) for the first time, using the Fabia S2000, winning three rallies and finishing second in both the drivers and manufacturers championship. In 2010, Škoda's won a total of seven IRC events winning both the manufacturers and driver championship for Juho Hänninen. The car was also raced by privateers in several championships, including Red Bull, Barwa, Rene Georges and Rufa in the 2010 Super 2000 World Rally Championship.
In August 2011, a special Škoda Octavia vRS hits world record in American Bonneville and became the fastest car in world with up to 2-litre engine, when hits 365,43 km/h. The current Škoda fastest serial car is Škoda Superb 3,6 FSI 4x4 with top speed 250 km/h (160 mph) and acceleration 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 6.5 seconds.
British Touring Car Championship 
In July 2011, Matt Hamilton announced that he would be making a return to the BTCC in 2012, piloting a Škoda Octavia vRS run by his fortmer team TH Motorsport. The car will be run to full NGTC (Next Generation Touring Car) spec.
Current models 
Škoda Citigo (2011–present)
Škoda Fabia II (2007–present)
Škoda Rapid (2011–present; India)
Škoda Rapid (2012–present; International)
Škoda Octavia III (2013–present)
Škoda Superb II (2008–present)
Škoda Roomster (2006–present)
Škoda Praktik (2006–present)
Škoda Yeti (2009–present)
Historic models 
- Laurin & Klement A (1905–1907)
- Laurin & Klement B (1906–1908)
- Laurin & Klement C (1906–1908)
- Laurin & Klement D (1906–1907)
- Laurin & Klement E (1906–1909)
- Laurin & Klement B2 (1907–1908)
- Laurin & Klement C2 (1907–1908)
- Laurin & Klement F (1907–1909)
- Laurin & Klement FF (1907)
- Laurin & Klement FC (1907–1909)
- Laurin & Klement HO/ HL/HLb (1907–1913)
- Laurin & Klement BS (1908–1909)
- Laurin & Klement FCS (1908–1909)
- Laurin & Klement G (1908–1911)
- Laurin & Klement DO/DL (1909–1912)
- Laurin & Klement FDO/FDL (1909–1915)
- Laurin & Klement EN (1909–1910)
- Laurin & Klement FN/GDV/RC (1909–1913)
- Laurin & Klement FCR (1909)
- Laurin & Klement L/LO (1909–1911)
- Laurin & Klement ENS (1910–1911)
- Laurin & Klement K/Kb/LOKb (1911–1915)
- Laurin & Klement LK (1911–1912)
- Laurin & Klement S/Sa (1911–1916)
- Laurin & Klement DN (1912–1915)
- Laurin & Klement RK (1912–1916)
- Laurin & Klement Sb/Sc (1912–1915)
- Laurin & Klement M/Mb/MO (1913–1915)
- Laurin & Klement MK/400 (1913–1924)
- Laurin & Klement O/OK (1913–1916)
- Laurin & Klement Sd/Se/Sg/Sk (1913–1917)
- Laurin & Klement Ms (1914–1920)
- Laurin & Klement Sh/Sk (1914–1917)
- Laurin & Klement T/Ta (1914–1921)
- Laurin & Klement Si/Sl/Sm/So/200/205 (1916–1924)
- Laurin & Klement Md/Me/Mf/Mg/Mh/Mi/Ml/300/305 (1917–1923)
- Laurin & Klement MS/540/545 (1920–1923)
- Laurin & Klement Škoda 545 (1924–1927)
- Škoda 422 (1929-1932)
- Škoda 430 (1929–1936)
- Škoda 633 (1931-1934)
- Škoda 637 (1932–1935)
- Škoda 420 Standard/Rapid/Popular (1933-1938)
- Škoda Rapid (1935-1947)
- Škoda Favorit (1936-1941)
- Škoda Superb (1934–1943)
- Škoda Superb OHV (1946–1949)
- Škoda 1101 Tudor (1946–1949)
- Škoda 1102 (1948-1952)
- Škoda VOS (1949–1952)
- Škoda 1200 (1952–1955)
- Škoda 440/445/450 (1955–1959)
- Škoda 1201 (1955–1962)
- Škoda Felicia (1959–1964)
- Škoda Octavia (1959–1964)
- Škoda 1202 (1961–1973)
- Škoda Octavia Combi (1964–1971)
- Škoda 1000 MB (1964–1969)
- Škoda 1203 (1968–1999)
- Škoda 100/110 (1969–1977)
- Škoda Garde (1981–1984)
- Škoda 130/135/136 (1984–1990)
- Škoda Rapid (1984) (1984–1990)
- Škoda Favorit/Forman/Pick-up (1987–1995)
- Škoda Felicia (1994–2001)
- Škoda Octavia first generation (1996–2004, Tour 2004–2010)
- Škoda Fabia first generation (1999–2007)
Laurin & Klement A (1905)
Škoda 422 (1929–1932)
Škoda 420 (1933–1938)
Škoda VOS (1949–1952)
Škoda 440 (1955–1959)
Škoda Octavia (1959–1971)
Škoda 1202 (1961–1973)
Škoda 1000 MB (1964–1969)
Škoda 100/110R Coupé (1969–1980)
Škoda 105 (1976–1989)
Škoda 120 (1976–1990)
Škoda Garde/Rapid (1981–1990)
Škoda Favorit (1987–1995)
Škoda Felicia (1994–2001)
Škoda Octavia I (1996–2010)
Škoda Fabia I (1999–2007)
Škoda Superb I (2001–2008)
Škoda Octavia II (2004–2013; 2009 facelift)
Concept cars 
- MissionL (2011)
- Vision D (2011)
- Fabia Super (2007)
- Joyster (2006)
- Yeti II (2006)
- Roomster (2003)
- Tudor (2002)
- Fabia Paris Edition (2002)
- Ahoj (2002)
- Felicia Golden Prague (1998)
- 783 Favorit Coupé (1987)
- Škoda 110 Super Sport Ferat (1971)
- Škoda 1100 GT (1968)
- Škoda 720 (1967-1972)
- Škoda F3 (1964)
- Škoda 1100 Type 968 (1958)
- Škoda 973 Babeta (1949)
See also 
- Margolius, Ivan and Meisl, Charles (1992). Škoda Laurin & Klement. London: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-237-4.
- More information about the Werner motor bicycles: Twycross, Tony (April 2005). "Auto Cycling, 1890s Style". The Moped Archive.
- vwagfy2012 (pdf). 15 March 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "Alle VW-Konzernmodelle Teil 3: Seat und Skoda" (in German). Autozeitung.de. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- "Škoda Auto to looks towards a new growth spurt". Volkswagen Group. 2 November 2010. "With this, we also want to continue to reinforce our function as the entry brand to the Volkswagen Group." (Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland, Chairman of the board of Škoda Auto).
- Anthony Crawford (9 April 2011). "Skoda – more popular than ever". Car Advice. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- "Digitální továrna společnosti Škoda Auto" (in Czech). Automa. December 2012.
- "Skoda Company History". CarAutoPortal.com. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
- Králík, Jan (2008), V soukolí okřídleného šípu, Grada Publishing a.s., p. 19-22
- Paul Burrows (13 March 2008). "Czech-in time for Skoda". AVHub.
- "Skoda has last laugh". BBC News. 24 February 2000.
- "ŠKODA AUTO a.s.". Volkswagen Group. Mladá Boleslav, 6 October 2004.
- "Skoda's Marketing Success Goes From Strength To Strength". Carpages. 17 December 2002.
- Kevin Massy (28 January 2008). "Skoda flagship to get VW's premium nav system". CNET Reviews. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- Jez Spinks (15 October 2007). "Skoda Octavia: first drive of the 'budget' VW". Drive.com.au.
- Steve Kealy (16 February 2010). "Skoda Octavia Scout 4x4". Carsales.com.au.
- "4. BRAND STRATEGY". The Chartered Institute of Marketing. 7 April 2003. pp. 22–23. Archived from the original on 29 October 2010.
- "Skoda Tops 500,000 Model Mark". The Auto Writer. 28 November 2006.
- Feann Torr (1 April 2011). "Skoda Fabia and Yeti coming in July". CarPoint Australia.
- "Shanghai Volkswagen Plans for Skoda Yeti Production in 2011". ChinaAutoWeb.com. 22 May 2010.
- "China Became Skoda's Largest Market". ChinaAutoWeb.com. 11 October 2010.
- "Skoda Yeti and Superb get Top Gear awards". MotorTorque.com. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- [http://www.caradvice.com.au/107226/skoda-visiond-design-study-reveals-new-logo-design- language/ "Skoda VisionD Design Study reveals new logo, design language"]. CarAdvice.com.au. 1 March 2011.
- "Case study: Skoda". Tcworld.info. December 2008. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011.
- "GENERAL PRESENTATION ŠKODA 2008". Institute for Industrial and Financial Management. p. 15. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- "ŠKODA AUTO a.s.". Volkswagen Group. Prague, 21 June 2004.
- "Škoda Octavia vRS je nejrychlejším dvoulitrem světa" [Skoda Octavia VRS is the fastest two-liter in the world] (in Czech). IHNED.cz. 28 August 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Škoda|
|Škoda Auto car timeline, 1945–1989 — next »|
|Coupé / cabrio||450||Felicia||1000MBX / 1100MBX||110 R||Garde||Rapid 130 / 135 / 136|
|Small family car||1101 / 1102 'Tudor'||440 'Spartak'||Octavia||1000MB / 1100MB||100 / 110||105 / 120 / 125|
|445||Octavia Super||Octavia Kombi||130 / 135 / 136|
|Family car||1200||1201||1202 (Kombi / Pickup)|
|Large family car||Superb 3000|
|Sports car||Sport||120 S||130 RS||130 LR|
|Supersport||1101 OHC||F3||1100 GT||130 L/A|
|Van / minibus||1203||Škoda TAZ|
|« previous — Škoda Auto, a marque of the Volkswagen Group, car timeline, 1990–present|
|Supermini||Favorit / Forman||Felicia||Fabia I||Fabia II|
|Small family car||Rapid|
|Octavia I||Octavia II||Octavia III|
|Large family car||Superb I||Superb II|
|LAV||Roomster / Praktik|