History of Skoda
The modern day Skoda company has come a long way from its origins as a vehicle to support Vaclav Laurent and Vaclav Klement's passion for bicycles in 1895. Now head quartered to the north east of Prague in Mlada Boleslav, the Volkswagen-owned firm have been at the forefront of revolutionising car manufacturing operations in the past twenty years.
It was only in 1905 that the duo decided to focus their energies on producing auto-mobiles after a brief flirtation with creating motorcycles. The first car that the duo produced was the Voiturette A and its success allowed the firm to grow from a small private firm into a larger public company.
When a fire ravaged their Mlada Boleslav factory in 1924, Laurin and Klement joined up with Emil Skoda's munitions firm in Plzen. The newly merged company took the name for which it is famous for today: Skoda. So important was the Skoda works that the Germans took over the company's bases in Czechoslovakia after the country was annexed in 1938. Having already been utilised as an arms producing firm in World War One, Skoda had little choice but to support the German war effort in World War Two.
In the late 1940s the ruling Communist Party nationalised Skoda, which gave the firm a monopoly in relation to passenger car production. The company used this to become one of the leading car producers in the socialist world, cementing this status with the production of 1987's Skoda Favorit model.
Once the Iron Curtain came down in 1989, Skoda and the Czech government agreed that the firm should become part of the Volkswagen group. Since then the stylishly produced motors like the Skoda Octavia and Fabia have won the company legions of new fans. The upshot of all this is that a Skoda produced car can be found almost everywhere in the world.