1895 - 1905
You might think it strange but our founders started by making push bikes! In December 1895, keen cyclists Vaclav Laurin (a mechanic) and Vaclav Klement (a bookseller) started designing and manufacturing bicycles. At that time, most Czechs were fervently
patriotic, so they called their first company Slavia. Their bicycles sold well, so Laurin and Klement decided to take the next step – and add motors. They started making motorbikes in 1899, changed the name of their company to the Laurin & Klement
Co and chalked up several racing victories. While making nearly 4,000 motorbikes of various types, they started experimenting with a new phenomenon – the car - which began to gradually replace motorbikes from 1905 on.
1905 - 1933
In the early 1900s, the Laurin & Klement Co could do no wrong and their first car, the Voiturette A, was a huge success, becoming a classic in Czech motoring history. The company established a stable position in the developing international market. When
war began in 1914, it started manufacturing for the armed forces too. Because of the economic conditions in Czechoslovakia at the time, Laurin and Klement needed a strong industrial partner to strengthen and modernise their company. They were
now not only producing a range of cars, but also trucks, buses, aeroplane engines and agricultural machinery, such as motorised ploughs. They merged with Pizen Skodovka Co in 1925 and became ŠKODA.
1933 - 1939
In the early 30s, ŠKODA had some difficult times. Luckily, they made a breakthrough with the Type A ŠKODA Popular, which was to become a legend in the second half of the decade. Weighing only 650kg the ŠKODA 420 Popular could reach 80km/h and was offered
at a fantastic price too (sound familiar?). At one end of the scale, Populars served as reliable utility vehicles, such as ambulances and delivery vans, while at the other they completed a four-month trip to India with Czechoslovakia's most
famous goalkeeper in tow, and the roadster version performed brilliantly in the famous Monte Carlo rally of 1936.
1960 - 1989
The Czech economy performed well up until the 1960s, then began to suffer because of new technology in the western world. ŠKODA continued to make new and improved cars – in the form of the Octavia, the Felicia, the MB range and the Rapid - but production
really only grew again with the arrival of the Favorit model range in 1987. Such was its success that the final, very pretty version of the Favorit was designed by the legendary Italian, Bertone.
1990 - Present
With the political changes of 1989, when the Berlin Wall was brought down, came new market economy conditions. The government of the Czech Republic and the management of ŠKODA began to search for a strong foreign partner in an effort to secure the company's
long term international competitiveness. In December 1990, they decided on Volkswagen and a joint venture began the following year. ŠKODA became the fourth brand in the Volkswagen group, alongside Volkswagen, Audi and Seat. Since then, ŠKODA
has gone from strength to strength, manufacturing not only many excellent cars but many happy drivers.
The ŠKODA OCTAVIA and SUPERB Estate proved an unbeatable duo as ŠKODA took home a pair of category wins at the 2018 What Car? Car of the Year Awards. The awards
were made at the title’s 40th annual ceremony in London, where the judging panel praised ŠKODA’s winning models for their comfort, practicality and value for
money. Other wins for SKODA included Best family SUV £20,000-£30,000 for KAROQ, Best estate car for less than £20,000 for FABIA, Best city car £9,500-£11,000
for CITIGO and Best executive car for less than £30,000 for SUPERB