“Nobody is perfect, but if you drive a Skoda, you’re pretty damn close”. That’s what happens when there is a history of over 125 years associated with a brand. The brand that has been through the depression and World Wars, Skoda Auto has become a globally renowned brand. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor was Skoda Auto. Let’s take a look at the history of Skoda Auto, a brand that everyone knows pretty well.
1985 – Laurin & Klement comes into existence
It was a time when automobiles were introduced to the world. People started to love the new way of transportation, it was easier and faster. This is when Vaclav Klement and Vaclav Laurin from Mladá Boleslav, Europe founded a company together. The company was called ‘Laurin and Klement’. With the help of two workers and one apprentice, they introduced their first bike known as ‘Slavia’.
The bike became an instant hit in the market. It was acclaimed for its reliability, practicality and high quality. The company was set up on one motto, “Only the best we can do is good enough for the customers”. The demands increased and Laurin and Klement’s first factory came into existence.
With 40 workers hired, a small bicycle factory was set up on a greenfield site. With the success of Slavia showcasing the great beginning, L&K introduced their first bicycle with an auxiliary motor in 1899 called the Motorcyclette.
1905 – L&K Voiturette A is introduced
A water-cooled 7.1hp two-cylinder engine. This is what powered the first four-wheeler from the company. It was a two-seat vehicle with front-mounted engine and radiator, a common layout at that time. Another product from the company that became a huge success. But this success was not limited to the local market. By 1907, the company became the largest vehicle manufacturer in the then Austro-Hungarian empire. L&K started to export vehicles across the world. Laurin and Klement became a renowned brand in the automotive industry.
1925 – Laurin & Klement – Skoda
L&K has become a renowned brand but for further expansion, a merger is required. This is where Skoda comes into the picture. In 1925, Laurin and Klement merged with the Skoda Factories which was at that time too, the largest industrial company in Czech. This merged entity was known as Skoda Auto and the vehicles were initially sold under the name, ‘Laurin & Klement – Skoda. Later, the name was changed to ‘Skoda’.
Iconic Winged-Arrow is revealed
The winged arrow logo came into existence in 1930. Since then, it has been the symbol of Skoda Auto – Simply Clever.
After this, the company made a big name in the automotive industry. L&K – Skoda cars became a symbol of reliability across the world. Since then, the company has introduced some of the iconic brands such as Rapid (1934), Superb (1934), Octavia (1959) and so on.
1991 – Volkswagen Group takes control
Skoda was doing well in Central and Eastern Europe. But there was a need for the brand to reach new heights. Volkswagen Group enters the scene in 1991. This gave the company the required boost to reach the global markets. The merger helped Skoda pan across over 100 countries till date. One such is our country, India.
Now let us take a look at when and how did Skoda enter the Indian market.
2002 – Skoda Octavia is introduced in India
Although the overall history of the Czech Brand dates back over 125 years, India got it’s first Skoda just 18 years back. In 2002, Skoda entered the Indian market with Octavia. The car became an instant success at our land. People were ready to spend more as the company was ready to give more. Remember the principle L&K started on? “Only the best we can do is good enough for the customers”. At that time, cars in India had very few features to offer. Octavia had power-adjustable ORVMs, ABS, power windows, dual-front airbags, power steering, air conditioner and much more. This made the sedan a sudden hit which led to the company selling over 44,000 units in the launch year itself. All the features, especially the safety ones.
Take a look: Skoda Octavia | Thrilling Enthusiasts Since 2002
Since then cars like Fabia, Rapid and Superb have been setting benchmarks for luxury in their respective segments.
2013 – Skoda Sets up a Plant In India
The company earned a great deal of market in the Indian market. So, to ramp up the production and lower the cost, Skoda set up a plant in Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Let’s take a peek at the models offered by the company currently.
The current generation of Skoda Rapid is the best mid-size sedan at the offer in the country. Right from the base variant, Rapid offers a host of features that its rivals lack. With 1.0-litre TSI engine that churns out 108hp of power and a peak torque of 175Nm. In the features list, it has 4-airbags, ABS with EBD, Windscreen defogger, Cruise control, Central locking and unlocking of doors and boot lid, Remote control opening and closing of windows, Anti-theft alarm with interior monitoring, Rearview camera with display and much more.
Skoda Octavia RS245
Octavia was the first Skoda car to enter India. There seem to be no bounds to the popularity of this car. The current Octavia on sale is the RS245. The car comes with a 2.0-Litre TSI engine. The engine churns 242hp of power and a peak torque of 370Nm. Take a look at the car’s details here.
‘The perfect blend of luxury and space.’ That’s how Skoda describes the Superb. It has a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder TSI Turbocharged Petrol Engine which churns 187.4hp and 320nm of torque. The engine comes mated to a 7-Speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. Skoda Superb is one of the best in segment sedans that are currently on sale.
The All-New Skoda Karoq has a BS6 Compliant 1.5Litre 4-cylinder TSI Turbocharged Petrol Engine with 110hp of power and 250Nm of peak torque. Skoda offers a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. On the feature front, Karoq includes a 12-way electrically adjustable driver seat with lumbar support and memory function, a strong beige leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, aluminium pedals, Parktronic automatic parking system, iBuzz Fatigue Alert system, 2-zone climate control with AirCare function and more.
So this is the history and the present of Skoda Auto. What do you think about the 125 years of global history and 18 years of those in India? Let us know in the comments section below.