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Škoda Auto
Type Private company
Industry Automotive
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(2012)
Area served Worldwide (except North America)
Key people H.C. Winfried Vahland (Chairman of the Board of Directors)
Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Supervisory Board)
Products Automobiles
Production output Increase 949,412 units (2012)
Services Automotive financial services
Revenue Increase €10.4 billion (2012) ($13.5 billion USD)
Profit Increase €712 million (2012) ($1.9 billion USD)
Total assets Increase K?135.7 billion (2010) ($8.33 billion USD)
Employees over 32 000 (2012)
Parent Volkswagen Group
Subsidiaries Škoda Auto Deutschland
Škoda Auto India
Škoda Auto Polska
Škoda Auto Slovakia
Škoda Auto (Czech pronunciation: [??koda] ( 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 began producing cars and has an unbroken history (together with Tatra, Daimler, Opel and Peugeot).
Laurin and 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.”
Seidel & Naumann’s German answer for Václav Klement’s Czech request for spare parts for his bike, which prompted him to open his own shop
Škoda Auto is one of the largest car manufacturers in Central Europe. In 2012, 939,200 cars were sold worldwide, a record for the company
Škoda Auto Museum in Mladá Boleslav
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 “Motocyclette”.[nb 1] 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 motorcycle made its debut in 1899.
In 1900, when the company had a workforce of 32, local production 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.
Rear of a Škoda Popular Special on display at the Sportauto Museum, Lány, Kladno District, Czech Republic
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 spole?nost pro automobilový pr?mysl 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.
During the World War II Occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Škoda works was turned into part of Reichswerke Hermann Göring serving the German World War II effort by producing components for military terrain vehicles, military planes, other weapon components and cartridge cases. Vehicle output decreased from 7,052 in 1939 to 683 in 1944 of which only 35 were passenger cars. 316 trucks were produced between January and May 1945. The UK and US air forces bombed Škoda works repeatedly between 1940 and 1945. The final massive air raid took place on 25th April 1945 and resulted in almost complete destruction of Škoda armament works and approximately 1,000 dead and injured.
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 due to their low price and were regarded as solid and reliable; However, they were having poor value compared to contemporary Western European designs. 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.[citation needed]
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[citation needed], 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, 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.
Previous logo until 2011
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.
A new concept car was presented at the Paris Auto Show in September 2006. The concept, a three-door compact car targeted at young drivers, was called Škoda Joyster.
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, 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.
In 2009, Top Gear Magazine named Škoda Superb – Luxury Car of the Year and Škoda Yeti – Family Car of the Year.
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.
Škoda Motorsport
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
Škoda Fabia S2000 being driven by Guy Wilks at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010
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 227MPH (365,43 km/h). The current Škoda fastest serial car is Škoda Superb 3,6 FSI 4×4 with top speed 250 km/h (160 mph) and acceleration 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 6.5 seconds.
Current models
Škoda Citigo (2011–present)
Škoda Fabia II (2007–present)
Škoda Rapid (2012–present)
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 Favorit, a large luxury limousine from 1939
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 110 R (1970–1980)
Škoda 105/120/125 (1976–1990)
Škoda Garde (1981–1984)
Škoda 130/135/136 (1984–1990)
Škoda Rapid (1984) (1984–1990)
Škoda Favorit/Forman/Pick-up (1987–1995)
Tr14/Škoda/Trolleybus (1981–1989)
Škoda Felicia (1994–2001)
Škoda Octavia first generation (1996–2004, Tour 2004–2010)
Škoda Fabia first generation (1999–2007)
Škoda Superb first generation (2001–2008)
Škoda Octavia second generation (2004–2013)
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)