100 years of customer service
The foundations of today’s network comprising more than 220 authorised ŠKODA workshops
he carmaker’s founding fathers, Laurin and Klement, were well aware that the relationship with the customer starts the moment a car is sold. They further developed this idea in 1920, when they founded the ELKA specialised company, whose current successor is the ŠKODA Original Parts facility.
An unusual place for services
The registered trademark ELKA (phonetic transcription of the L&K brand) has been on site since 1909. ELKA Car Equipment and Repairs was established 11 years later. The company opened its first car repair workshop in Prague in the Waldstein Riding School. In addition to service works, it also provides tyres, spare parts and new cars. “It is fascinating to see both founding fathers’ foresight as they were already attuned to the importance and potential of after-sales services at the time”, says Karel Starý, head of VTS – Aftersales Services CZ.
Under the baton of AZNP
In 1929, ELKA became part of the Škoda plants, which then sold it to ASAP (Joint Stock Companies for the Automotive Industry). In 1945, ELKA became part of PAL České Budějovice, and around 1950, it ceased to exist. In the post-war economy, the development of after-sales services happened under the banner of AZNP (Automobile Plant, National Enterprise). At the end of the 1940s, there was a Spare Parts Register, which was replaced by the Autorenova company and, in turn, soon became Mototechna. In 1958, AZNP took over nine branches of what had been the Czechoslovak Car Repair Workshops, thus renewing the tradition of branded services.
Trends in digitisation and electromobility are also increasingly penetrating after-sales services. For example, customers can use ŠKODA Connect services to establish contact with the workshop or make an appointment for regular inspection. Electric cars and plug-in hybrids owners use public charging stations located on the ŠKODA partners’ premises. Experts also help customers to select a suitable car charging method for their home or company, install a wallbox or retrofit a car with a suitable cable.
At the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, the network expanded with three more branches, and 1973 saw another major modernisation: In Mariánské Lázně, a computer oversaw the repair process. After 1989, workshops became private companies, and the free market began to operate. The service network grew rapidly, service quality was refined, and the merger with the VW Group in 1991 meant major improvements, as the area of services and after-sales started to use the latest know-how. Today, the Czech ŠKODA AUTO service network comprises more than 220 authorised partners. Luděk Vokáč