Brief History About Skoda
Škoda Auto was founded in 1895 (as Laurin & Klement) in Czech Republic by Václav Laurin and Václav Klement. Laurin & Klement originally set out as a bicycle repair shop then became a bicycle manufacturer, then a motorcycle manufacturer by 1899 and then moved onto car manufacturing in 1905.
After WW1 they also started truck, bus, aeroplane engine and agricultural machinery manufacturing. Looking for a business partner to help them financially and to expand even more, in 1925 and with Skoda Works also looking to expand its car business, they merged with Laurin & Klement. Skoda works was an arms manufacturer established as far back as 1859 and had just started their foray into the auto business.
When WW2 came around Skoda was used to produce military vehicles and weapons. Once WW2 was over Skoda got back to building cars.
It has to be said that the Skoda cars during the 60’s-80’s were always a few steps behind other car manufacturers in terms of technology, but that didn’t stop them being success in Rally races, most noticeably winning in their class in the RAC rally for 17 years running and now participating successfully in the WRC and other rally events.
With the fall of communism that saw the Berlin wall come down, Skoda sought a new business partner and was soon in business with the Volkswagen Group, who initially took a 30% share in Skoda in 1991, which gradually grew to full ownership in 2000.
With VW’s ownership Skodas have come a long way, although still marred by its pre 90’s history, they are every bit as capable as any other mainstream manufacturer in building quality and value for money cars.
In 2011 a special Škoda Octavia vRS set a world record at the Bonneville Speedway with a 227 mph (365 km/h) top speed and became the fastest car in the world for the up to 2.0 litre engine class.