In 1919, the automobile division of the Laurin and Clement company was founded, which was named Skoda. Despite the fact that the company did not have experience in creating full-fledged cars, Laurin & Clement successfully produced bicycles with an internal combustion engine, having become widespread far beyond the borders of their native Czech Republic.
The first car model of the Skoda company was developed jointly with the Hispano-Suiza company, and the top executives of the Czech Republic and Germany became the clients of the Czech brand. Later, free sales of the Skoda HB6 model began, but their circulation did not exceed 101 copies. The highlight of this car is the independent suspension and the 6.5-liter six-cylinder power unit with a capacity of 100 horsepower.
In 1924, the factories of the Skoda brand began to produce the second model, which was a medium-sized truck with a carrying capacity of 5 tons. Instead of an internal combustion engine, a 70 horsepower pipe boiler was used, and the additional weight of the car was the supply of coal needed to propel the car.
A year later, a large-scale restructuring of the company began, which led to the acquisition of a new plant, where it was planned to produce exclusively Skoda cars. Large subsidies were also received from the governments of Germany and Austria. In the same year, the Skoda emblem was officially registered, which appeared on all future models. In 1928, one of its founders, Vaclav Laurin, left the company for health reasons.
The release of completely new Skoda 4R and 6R cars, which received the first gearboxes built according to the modern principle, was timed to coincide with Clement's retirement. However, most of the sold copies of the new models were limited only to the chassis; as before, buyers could order bodies from third-party ateliers. A year later, a luxurious version of these models was introduced, called the Skoda 860 and a more advanced eight-cylinder power unit with a capacity of 60 horsepower.
Since the early 30s of the twentieth century, the company's engineers have begun to create a people's car that can meet the needs of a wide variety of segments of the population. One of the reasons for such a sharp change in course was the economic crisis of 1929, which drained the economy of the entire European continent. The first such car was released in 1932. Under the hood is a 32-horsepower three-cylinder power unit, coupled with a three-speed manual gearbox. The main feature of the model was its low weight with a two-door four-seater body that was classic for cars of that time.
However, in 1934, a new prestigious model of the Skoda brand, the Superb, was presented, equipped with a six-cylinder power unit of its own production. The end of the 30s was overshadowed by the departure of the second founder of the company, Vaclav Klement, in 1938. In 1939, the Czech brand entered the German automotive market. At the Berlin Motor Show, the Skoda Popular 1100 model was presented, which attracted the attention of the government delegation led by Hitler.
Just a few months later, the occupation of Czechoslovakia began, during which most of the industrial enterprises were destroyed or closed. However, such a fate did not befall the Skoda brand. Initially, the occupation government changed the management top of the company, and in 1940 the production of buses, trucks and fenders for German army aircraft began at the factories of the brand. An additional workshop was also built for the production of the Skoda RSO artillery tractor, designed by Ferdinand Porsche himself.
In 1945, after the resumption of production at the Skoda factories, a new model Skoda Popular 1101 was immediately presented, which was a modified pre-war model. However, until 1953, the production of Skoda cars had low volumes, meeting the needs of the new government of Czechoslovakia. This year, the Skoda Spartak was introduced, which entered mass production in 1955 under the name Skoda 440. Under the hood was a 40-horsepower four-cylinder power unit mounted on a tubular frame.
In 1959, the second generation of the 440 model was released, called the Octavia. In addition, two modifications of the car were presented - Octavia Super with a 45 horsepower engine and a Felicia convertible with a 50 horsepower engine. However, the 60s of the twentieth century were marked by stagnation, which led to a serious technological lag of the brand from competitors from other countries, which negatively affected the produced models, and after the crisis overtook the economy of Czechoslovakia. The Skoda company stopped producing new models, limiting itself only to the modernization of existing cars, which were supplied not only to the domestic car market, but also to all countries of Eastern Europe, where the brand held a leading position until the end of the 80s.
In 1987, after the start of cooperation with the body shop "Bertone", a new model of the Skoda brand was presented, called Favorit 3. The production of the model began in December 1987, and sales of the model clearly demonstrated bright prospects that would allow the company to re-enter the international arena. In 1988, construction began on a new plant capable of meeting the high demand for the new model, but the project was never completed as the communist regime of Czechoslovakia fell in 1989. This was a real blow to the state of the Czech brand, putting it in a crisis situation. Moreover, in 1991, the bankruptcy procedure of the Skoda company began, but, thanks to the intervention of the state, the question of closing the company was removed.
However, a strict condition was set, according to which the company's management had to find a technology partner capable of making significant investments and technologies for the continued existence of the brand. This partner was the German concern Volkswagen, which bought out a controlling stake, including Skoda among its brands.
In 1992, work began on the creation of a compact sedan capable of becoming the new people's car. On the platform from the third generation Volkswagen Golf, 1.5-liter power units with 55 and 74 horsepower from Audi were installed, and the new car was named Skoda Octavia Tour. In addition, a 70 horsepower diesel engine was introduced a year later. In the same year, a new generation of Skoda Felizia was introduced, which has become much more modern and reliable than all previous generations. In addition, this particular model began to be supplied to other countries, as a result, becoming one of the first new cars of the Seat brand on the Spanish and Portuguese car market.
In 1999, the subcompact Fabia model was introduced, replacing Felicia. In 2001, serial production of the full-size Skoda Superb sedan, built on the basis of the Audi A6, began.
By 2006, the Skoda company became one of the most profitable divisions of the Volkswagen concern, as a result of which, all subsequent models of the brand were developed with the complete independence of the brand's engineers, which allowed to capture a significant market share.
In 2010, a complete change of the current model range was announced. In addition, all new cars of the company began to be produced using the developments of the premium brand Audi, which allowed Skoda to retain all the main features of its cars, while increasing the build quality and dynamic characteristics.
In 2012-2013 the following models were presented: SKODA Rapid, Octavia A7, Superb FL.
The new design of the Skoda car was first introduced in the new C-class model ŠKODA Rapid, a budget liftback with unique dimensions and luggage compartment dimensions. With the start of 2013, the third-generation Octavia entered sales.
The Škoda Octavia and Škoda Octavia Combi are at the heart of the Škoda brand. No other model in the brand's history has been more successful. The new model, which was presented by Skoda at the end of 2012, continues to follow the path that was started by previous generations of the Škoda Octavia. Thanks to the revolutionary design of the MQB, the Octavia offers a number of improvements and technical innovations that first appeared in the Skoda models.
In the spring of 2013, the world saw the updated Superb at an exhibition in Shanghai. The premium model has adopted the best of the new Skoda style and is even brighter and more attractive.
The Skoda Superb offers superior quality at an unbeatable price in the upper middle category. Space, technical level, and attractiveness of price are exemplary. The facelift of the second generation Superb in 2013, using elements of the brand's new design, enhances the combination of dynamism and elegance.
In the fall of 2013, Skoda launched the Rapid Spaceback. The Spaceback's modern and vibrant design is based on a foundation of quality.
After the facelift of the Škoda Yeti, which was presented in the fall of 2013, two design versions were proposed: the stylish Yeti, and the more determined Yeti Outdoor. Each version has its own special "face", created in the style of the new Skoda design. A new feature in Skoda cars is the rear parking camera, the image from which is transmitted to the display of the navigation system.
In 2014, at the Geneva Motor Show, Skoda unveiled the Vision C concept car, defining a new direction for the brand's design. The car is built on the MQB platform developed by Volkswagen and became the first representative of the brand in a new segment, where the Audi A5 Sportback and VW Passat CC have already established themselves.
In 2014, sales of the brand reached 1,037,200 units and an operating profit of 817 million euros. The company is implementing a new development strategy that should significantly increase sales worldwide, especially in emerging markets.