Škoda, is a Czech automobile manufacturer established in 1925 as the successor to Laurin & Klement and headquartered in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic.
Škoda Works became state owned in 1948. After 1991, it had been gradually privatized to the German Volkswagen Group, becoming a subsidiary in 1994 and since 2000 a wholly owned subsidiary
Škoda automobiles are sold in over 100 countries and in 2018, total global sales reached 1.25 million units, an increase of 4.4% from the previous year.
The operating profit was €1.6 billion in 2017, an increase of 34.6% over the previous year. As of 2017, Škoda's profit margin was the second highest of all Volkswagen AG brands after Porsche.
The Škoda Works were established as an arms manufacturer in 1859. ŠKODA AUTO (and its predecessor Laurin & Klement) is the fifth-oldest company producing cars, and has an unbroken history alongside Daimler, Opel, Peugeot, and Tatra.
As with many long-established car manufacturers, the company which would become Škoda Auto started in the early 1890s by manufacturing bicycles. Škoda (then Laurin & Klement) factories were founded in 1896 as a velocipede manufacturer.
In 1894 (128 years ago), 26-year-old Václav Klement, who was a bookseller in Mladá Boleslav, Kingdom of Bohemia (today's Czech Republic, then part of Austria-Hungary), was unable to obtain spare parts to repair his German bicycle. Klement returned his bicycle to the manufacturers, Seidel and Naumann, with a letter, in Czech, asking them to carry out repairs, only to receive a reply, in German, stating: "If you want us to answer you, we insist that you convey your message in a language we understand." Not satisfied with the reply and realising the business potential, Klement, despite having no technical experience, decided to start a bicycle repair shop, which Václav Laurin and he opened in 1896 in Mladá Boleslav. Before going into partnership with Klement, Laurin was an established bicycle manufacturer in the nearby town of Turnov.
In 1898, after moving to their newly built factory, the pair bought a Werner "Motocyclette". Laurin & Klement's first motorcyclette, powered by an engine mounted on the handlebars driving the front wheels, proved dangerous and unreliable – an early accident on it cost Laurin a front tooth. To design a safer machine with its structure around the engine, the pair wrote to German ignition specialist Robert Bosch for advice on a different electromagnetic system.
Their new Slavia motorcycle made its debut in 1899, and the company became the first motorcycle factory in Central Europe. In 1900, with a company workforce of 32, Slavia exports began and 150 machines were shipped to London for the Hewtson firm. Shortly afterwards, the press credited them as makers of the first motorcycle.
ŠKODA AUTO Annual Press Conference 2022
March 22, 2022