From Austro-Hungarian Empire to Virtual Reality

From Austro-Hungarian Empire to Virtual Reality

The beginning was all about persuading customers who simply did not trust anything powered by an engine. Then came the first shops. Today’s modern showrooms are starting to open their doors for virtual reality. Let’s make a trip through time, a tour of new-car dealerships and points of sale.

9. 1. 2018 Škoda World

Austro-Hungarian Empire and the 1st Republic

The first Laurin & Klement motorcycles were sold at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Václav Klement traveled to cycling races to offer their participants a very special ride – hands on handlebars just like on an ordinary bicycle plus, as an innovation, a petrol engine! The first cars, including the famous Voituretta A, were sold at car exhibitions, and the brand soon started opening dealerships in the biggest cities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - the first ones in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. New points of sale were gradually established also in smaller cities, such as the one in Teplice that is shown in the photograph from 1912.

Prodejna L&K

L&K dealership, Teplice, 1912

At that time cars were a luxury product. Most of them were made to order, and besides things considered usual still today (e.g. upholsteries), the list of customised items often included the body, too. The car manufacturer delivered just the chassis and engine, and a company specialising in bodywork production then produced the body exactly as required by the customer. That started changing shortly before the Great War, when wooden parts started to be replaced by metal ones and series production made cars more affordable.

Communist times

Dealership Vřes, Jeseník, 1970-80

Shops and showrooms in which customers could choose their dream cars were just theory in the communist era. In fact, the only option for people in Czechoslovakia of that time was to go to a shop called Mototechna to get on a waiting list and then, unless they had a friend in the right place, wait and wait, sometimes for years, while also saving up for their new car. For example, the ŠKODA FAVORIT cost CZK 84,600 at the time of its launch, 28 average salaries in Czechoslovakia.


Dealership Vřes, Jeseník, 1970-80 – interior

Modern showrooms

The project of modernising ŠKODA dealerships in the Czech Republic was completed last year. Attractive design both inside and outside, high-quality materials and state-of-the-art technologies and equipment create a pleasant setting for dealer-customer interactions. Personal contact is important, and the brand makes every effort to ensure that customers feel good in its showrooms. The use of digital and modern technologies in ŠKODA showrooms is becoming increasingly widespread.

Showroom, 2017

Showroom, 2017 – exterior

Norway has just seen the opening of the first digitized showroom where cars are presented to customers using applications in tablets and attractive visualizations on big screens. Most of us associate digital technologies with spare time and fun, and the new showroom reflects this fact. The customer can use state-of-the-art technology to get familiar with the brand or play a variety of games to make their waiting time more enjoyable.

ŠKODA dealers in Spain and the UK have launched the first “virtual” showrooms. Using a video call, the Sales Advisor invites the customer to a presentation to show ŠKODA vehicles “live”. If the customer has any questions, for example around the infotainment system and its control or some particular function, the Advisor demonstrates the function right on the dashboard, inside the car – with mobile cameras in place, the customer receives a direct experience.

Showroom, 2017

Showroom, 2017 – interior

Virtual reality

Virtual reality is the future of showrooms. The brand offers several model lines, and each of the models comes with a choice of several engines and bodywork options and a wide range of colors and accessory configurations. Showing all that in a showroom is simply not possible, but the customer does not want to buy a pig in a poke, they need to see their future car, and virtual reality is the perfect tool to do that.

ŠKODA Virtuální realita

Virtual reality – vehicle configuration

With this modern technology in place, customers can configure their car completely, including the tiniest of details, and then use 3D glasses to look at the car from all sides and angles, inside and outside and even in various lighting conditions. Moreover, they can check out various systems and solutions, such as the headlamps in poor visibility or darkness.


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