ŠKODA Celebrates 125 Years

From humble beginnings to an electrified future, we’re excited to celebrate 125 years with ŠKODA.

ŠKODA began in 1895 with a dream and a cycling passion. Founders Václav Laurin and Václav Klement of Czechia teamed up to first make bicycles, then motorcycles, and eventually automobiles in 1905. Laurin was the intuitive technician, always pushing the limits of his creativity, where Klement was meticulous and detail-oriented, heralded as a visionary of personal mobility.

The LAURIN & KLEMENT motorcycles took off (literally…), but the two men weren’t satisfied with two wheels. Forging ahead into automobile territory, they produced a light but quick vehicle named the L&K VOITURETTE A, which delivered a top speed of 40 km/h from a 2 cylinder motor. Wanting to make sure the vehicles were up to their standard, the company developed the vehicles themselves, rather than producing under a license.

ŠKODA Finds Its Place

1925 ushered in some big changes for LAURIN & KLEMENT after the first world war. Needing financial support following the war and a factory fire, the company found a strategic partner in machine engineering company ŠKODA. To commemorate the change, a new logo for ŠKODA was born. This joint effort brought in modern marvels such as the production line, improved design technology, and new models. These changes meant lower fuel consumption, price, slower tyre wear, and a more comfortable drive – all wins for the budding automobile brand!

ŠKODA introduced the Popular, Rapid, Favorit, and the still-in-production-today Superb during the 1930s, remaining largely unaffected by the financial global crisis.

1930s SKODA Production Line

ŠKODA Czechoslovakian production line circa 1930

Production & Design Changes

From the 1930s-1980s, ŠKODA experimented with new designs, tinkered with engine overhauls, and reworked normal car configurations. The Favorit model, released in 1987, introduced a modern design that suited their trendy customer demographic, who were hungry for something new. The engine and transmission focused on front wheel drive and paved the way for a varied number of body designs and engine configurations. The age of customisation and unique identity was born!

ŠKODA’s logo after its merger in 1925

Joining Volkswagen

1989 brought the fall of the Iron Curtain and some serious changes to Czechoslovakia’s economy. Needing to make changes fast and continue their development under the guise of a stronger brand, Volkswagen swooped in. Their bid won, as they allowed ŠKODA to keep their Czech heritage and development department. By the time Volkswagen had a 100% stake in the firm, nine years later, ŠKODA was manufacturing 2.5 times more than their pre-Iron Curtain days – a marked improvement for both brands.

A New Type of Demand

Consumer demand for sports utility vehicles – SUVs – skyrocketed in the late 2000s. Unsurprisingly, ŠKODA responded in their creative, unique way, with the ŠKODA Yeti in 2009. Based on the popular Octavia line, the Yeti paved the way for ŠKODA’s popular SUV range, including the Kodiaq, Karoq, and Kamiq.

A forward thinking company, ŠKODA created their tagline, Simply Clever, to showcase their inventive ways at making mobility accessible, functional, and easy for all. Leading the way with delightful surprises in design that rival luxury car brands to easy connectivity, ŠKODA nails their customers needs each time.

Connectivity being a hot topic today, ŠKODA created the MyŠKODA App to integrate the customers’ phone with the vehicle. PAUL – the Personal Assistant U Love – guides customers through the app, which houses a personalised car manual, how-to video tips, vehicle diagnostics and more.

ŠKODA of the Future

ŠKODA is excitedly gearing up to enter the eMobility market with its all new ŠKODA Enyaq, to be released by the end of 2020. The company is currently working on electrifying their entire model line-up, with more than ten electrified ŠKODA models being introduced between 2019 – late 2022.

So what’s next for ŠKODA’s future? The Kamiq will be gracing the streets of New Zealand this year and we’re excitedly awaiting updates on the eMobility efforts from the brand – like when the Enyaq will find its way to Christchurch. After that? Only time will tell, and we can’t wait to see.

Want to check out the ŠKODA vehicle range? Find it here.

A blue SKODA Kamiq SUV driving through the countryside

The all-new ŠKODA Kamiq – coming soon.

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Please note that imagery and specifications may be of overseas vehicles and include optional extras.