ŠKODA AUTO CEO Bernhard Maier emphasises: “ŠKODA AUTO is one of the world’s five oldest automobile manufacturers still active today. The courage and ingenuity of the two founders, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement, are the cornerstone of this unique success story and at the same time an obligation and incentive to lead the company towards a prosperous future. This is precisely what we are doing through our Strategy 2025, transforming ŠKODA AUTO from a car manufacturer into a ‘Simply Clever Company for the best mobility solutions’.”
In pursuing this goal, ŠKODA AUTO is continuing along its path towards electromobility in 2020, presenting the series-production version of the VISION iV in the first half of the year. The 125th anniversary of the company’s founding thus also marks the beginning of a new era for the manufacturer: the all-electric SUV is the brand’s first vehicle to be based on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electric Platform (MEB). As part of its ongoing product campaign, ŠKODA will be launching 30 new models from 2019 to the end of 2022, more than ten of which will be partially or fully electric.
The company founders Václav Laurin and Václav Klement laid the foundations for ŠKODA’s rise to become an internationally successful car manufacturer in December 1895: the repair and production of bicycles began in the central Bohemian town of Mladá Boleslav. The company named after them,
Laurin & Klement (L&K), would soon offer numerous two and three-wheelers in several dozen versions, and the production of motorcycles started in 1899. The technically innovative models soon gained in popularity for example in England, one of the most demanding export markets.
The first Laurin & Klement automobile, the Voiturette A, made its debut as early as 1905. It quickly proved to be a high-quality everyday vehicle with an excellent price-performance ratio. L&K comprehensively expanded its model range and soon also offered high-performance sports and commercial vehicles that would win over drivers around the world. One hundred fifteen years later, the automobile manufacturer is active in more than 100 markets, delivering 1.24 million vehicles to customers worldwide every year.
The basis for the further development of this success story was the 1925 merger of Laurin & Klement and the mechanical engineering group Škoda, which secured the necessary capital for expansion. Since then, the winged arrow has been featured in the brand logo of the vehicles from Mladá Boleslav.
ŠKODA AUTO is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020 with numerous activities, campaigns and events for the company’s employees, fans of the brand and automotive enthusiasts. For example, historically significant models will be taking part in driving events in China and India as well as other international markets. A special concert by the world-renowned Czech Philharmonic will be a highlight in the year of festivities. Also, for this anniversary year, ŠKODA is launching an extensive marketing and communication campaign on all the brand’s social networks and the company’s website, ŠKODA Storyboard, under the slogan ‘Driving inventivenes since 1895’.
Throughout the company’s history, the Czech and international production sites have built many historically significant ŠKODA models, some of which will be celebrating the anniversary of their world premieres or market launches in 2020: for example, 85 years ago, in 1935, ŠKODA showcased the fascinating ŠKODA 935 Dynamic with its streamlined body.
Sixty years ago, in September 1960, ŠKODA presented the first ŠKODA OCTAVIA COMBI at the International Engineering Fair in Brno, and the elegant 2+2 coupé ŠKODA 110 R made its debut in 1970. The 70th anniversary of factory crew´s 1950 participation in the 24-hour Le Mans in a ŠKODA Sport commemorates ŠKODA AUTO’s long tradition in motorsport.