Since 1895, we’ve been building progressive cars for today. Models that have always been ahead of their time. This pioneering spirit initially found expression in bicycles, followed by motorcycles and, ultimately, cars. It’s our commitment to the intersection of design, function and innovation that has driven inventiveness over the past 125 years. In 2020, we’ll take an eye off the future, to take a moment in the present, and celebrate our past.
Come with us on an exciting trip down memory lane at ŠKODA, taking in the company’s foundation in 1895 to the present day, and explore its rich heritage, brimming with great cars and intriguing moments.
Take a ride in a vintage ŠKODA. Go back in time with us and sit at the wheel of an L&K ŠKODA 110. A pleasant drive around historical Prague awaits you, where you will find out a lot of interesting stuff, and not only about the car in which you are sitting.
The spirited partnership between Václav Laurin and Václav Klement and the establishment of their joint venture laid the foundations for our company’s success story.
The ŠKODA story began in 1895 with our founders, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement. Besides their first names and a love for cycling, they had another thing in common: a strong inventive spirit.How it all began
There have been several breakthrough moments in our existence that have moved us forward and dictated which path to follow. Take a look at them with us and then explore all the models we have ever made.
The ŠKODA story began not on four wheels, but two: enthusiastic "velocipedists" and patriots Václav Laurin and Václav Klement decided to turn their passion into a career and to produce bicycles under the brand name "Slavia". The new brand rapidly became synonymous with quality and innovation. L&K soon became the second largest producer of bicycles in Czechia at the time.
Four years later they started to build bicycles with an auxiliary engine, the so-called Motocyclette. These motorcycles soon became very popular and won several awards in racing competitions, becoming the second pillar of the young company. The motorcycles from Mladá Boleslav were highly sought after, not only in their Bohemian homeland, but abroad as well.
Encouraged by this success, Laurin and Klement graduated to four wheels, and presented their first automobile, the ‘Voiturette A’. The vehicle impressed with its reasonable price as well as its practicality and robustness. This small 7-horsepower car marked the initial spark for a yearlong, successful corporate development under the name of L&K, accompanied by the launch of further successful models.
In 1924 the L&K factory was partially destroyed by a large fire, which led to the company merger with the engineering giant from Plzeň, ŠKODA, marking the end of the Laurin & Klement company. Through the entire 20th century, encompassing two World Wars and a socialist-era planned economy, the commitment from ŠKODA to building high-quality cars didn’t waver.
In March, 1991 the company begins a partnership with Volkswagen. Even the company name is new: ŠKODA, joint-stock automotive company. Three years after the merger with Volkswagen, the new ŠKODA FELICIA model was born. Cooperation with Europe’s largest car manufacturer, Volkswagen, was very successful and took production to a new level.
The first model to be developed completely from scratch after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the merger with Volkswagen. It gave the decisive impetus for the rapid transformation of the company into one of the recognised global players. Since their market launch, more than five million ŠKODA OCTAVIAs have been produced, and we’re still counting.
The year 2016 marked the beginning of ŠKODA’s foray into the rapidly expanding SUV segment, where the brand had been represented up to then by the successful YETI. The first model under this new strategy was the ŠKODA KODIAQ, soon followed by the ŠKODA KAROQ.
With the Vision E study, the company provides its first outlook on the future of individual mobility. The five-door SUV coupé can travel up to 500 kilometres on purely electric power and meets the level 3 requirements for autonomous driving. ŠKODA is intensively perusing the electrification of its model range, and will be offering five purely electric models by 2025.
Since the start of production in Mladá Boleslav in 1895, the company has provided the world with many racing legends, memorable victories and unforgettable machines. Take a look at some important milestones in ŠKODA’s racing history.All about ŠKODA racing history
Every car with the winged arrow on its bonnet proudly subscribes to a long tradition of constant innovation. The ŠKODA logo itself has also changed over time. Check out its evolution and pay an after-hours visit to the ŠKODA museum.
ŠKODA’s modern history dates back to 1991, when it joined the Volkswagen Group. By that time, the first modern model, the FAVORIT, was already on sale and had begun the brand’s transition to a successful maker of contemporary cars. Explore this and other models that have been produced over the years.
The ŠKODA FAVORIT was the first ŠKODA model with the engine in the front and a front driven axle. The model premièred in July 1987. With its modern design, it ushered in a new era for ŠKODA. The FAVORIT was a hatchback and had a basic engine with a volume of 1289 cc.
The ŠKODA FELICIA was the first all-new model to be developed after the merger with the Volkswagen Group. The FELICIA, produced from 1994, not only introduced changes that were visible at first glance, such as the modern, rounded shapes and pleasant interior, but also represented a clear step up in quality.
In 2006, ŠKODA launched the innovative ROOMSTER, a small MPV with oodles of space. The car was notionally split into two parts: the “Driving Room” – a cockpit for the driver and front passenger, and the “Living Room” – a generously sized passenger and cargo space at the rear. Another unique feature was the VarioFlex flexible rear seat system, now found in the KAROQ.
ŠKODA’s first SUV was introduced in 2009. The ŠKODA YETI was a compact SUV with a timeless design, split headlights, impressive all-wheel drive, and higher ground clearance, all wrapped up in compact dimensions with a practical interior. The YETI also offered the VarioFlex flexible rear seat system.
In 2012, the range was extended to include the RAPID, a compact family model embodying the brand’s new design language. The sleek liftback design concealed ŠKODA’s signature roominess in both the passenger compartment and the boot. A year later, a hatchback version, the distinctively named RAPID SPACEBACK, was launched.