Beginning. The company's history started in today's Czech Republic in 1895, when a mechanic and a bookseller decided to manufacture bicycles. Four years later, the Laurin & Klement factory began to manufacture motorcycles which took part in competitions. In 1905, Skoda launched its first car, the Voiturette, which became an instant hit.
Development. After World War II, Skoda became a monopoly in the domestic market. Due to the fact that Czechoslovakia did not maintain contacts with Western countries, technological differences between Skoda and other brands became deeper and deeper. After 1989, a decision was made to introduce a strong foreign partner. Volkswagen was selected a year later, despite the fact that 22 companies were trying to start cooperation with Skoda (including Renault,BMW, Fiat and General Motors). Owing to this move, the French manufacturer became the fourth brand in the German giant's portfolio (after VW, Audi and SEAT).
Present.After the company was taken over by Volkswagen, the brand perception in Western Europe changed. In the 1980s, the Czech car manufacturer was a laughing stock. The brand was also ridiculed in Czechoslovakia. The following joke was told: "How do you double the value of a Skoda car?" "Fill her up!". In 2003, an image campaign was even conducted in Great Britain to change this. It did bring the desired effect because now there is a waiting list for Skoda cars in the UK. According to surveys, the Czech manufacturer receives high scores in brand satisfaction surveys conducted amongst British people.
Contribution to the automotive industry. The company, at the beginning of its existence had very high technological standards. In 1912, it obtained a licence to manufacture four-stroke Knight engines. And soon, it manufactured those engines according to its own design. The four-stroke Knight engine was very difficult and complicated to manufacture, but, as a result, it produced ideally smooth engine operation, which is now achieved only in 12-cylinder cars. Until the 1990s, when electronically controlled engines with a Variable Valve Timing system were produced, these engines were unbeatable in this respect. Laurin & Klement manufactured as many as six versions of this engine for nearly 20 years, while Mercedes manufactured just two and for a very short time.
Trivia.At present, the Skoda brand is the leader in the Polish automotive market, and 37,944 new passenger cars were sold in Poland in 2009.
The most popular models currently manufactured include:Skoda Fabia, Skoda Octavia, Skoda Roomster, Skoda Superb, Skoda Yeti.
Tyres. Skoda manufactures a lot of popular car models. The tyre sizes most frequently used include: 155/70 R13, 185/60 R14, 185/65 R14, 195/65 R15, 205/55 R16. The original equipment of Skoda cars often includes the following brands: Michelin, Goodyear,Continental.