BRAND’S UNIQUE HERITAGE
125 YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION
The unique story of the Czech carmaker has been written by five generations of ŠKODA people who put their extraordinary skill, inventiveness and love for technology into their work. They have also managed to follow and address the changing needs of their customers.
A t the end of the 19th century, when Václav Laurin and Václav Klement founded their company in Mladá Boleslav, many companies that were being established in industrialised countries were dedicated to the production of various means of transport that would deal with individual mobility. Although the first vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine was introduced in Germany as early as 1885, improvements in technology and a significant expansion of motoring did not happen until the 20th century. The often amusing little vehicles became fully fledged automobiles, and the automotive industry experienced its first boom despite many governments’ stand-offish attitude at the time. An incredible 485 new brands were established just in the United States between 1899 and 1909! Thanks to technical innovations – especially conveyor belts, which enabled mass production, lower costs and a lower final selling price – there was a change in the understanding of vehicle ownership. Starting as a fad for the rich privileged classes, cars gradually became the most commonly used means of transport for the general population. In the 21st century, the environment has become a priority due to the issue of climate change. Car manufacturers are focusing on innovations that take natural resources into account. The current period is marked by visionary work – individual mobility is expecting an even greater wave of technical innovations than what the last century produced.
The automotive industry has experienced rapid development over the past 125 years. Only a few original car manufacturers have remained – those that were able to adapt to changes. ŠKODA AUTO rightly belongs to the family of global carmakers that have the longest tradition and are still active today. It owes its extraordinarily long history to the unique quality of its products, which is based on the technical skill of the people who tied their careers to it and demonstrated their commitment to continuous improvement. It is the skilfulness, ingenuity and loyalty of ŠKODA’s employees that have always pushed the brand forward. Just like the factory, the cars and the customer requirements have been changing, and so have the jobs over the course of 125 years. In this supplement, we are trying to map out the development of some of them.
Carmaker tied to the region
Mladá Boleslav has been the home of ŠKODA AUTO for 125 years, regardless of the product types the company has produced. It should be pointed out that the brand’s cars later rolled also off the lines in two other plants in Bohemia. In 1946, the plant in Vrchlabí strengthened the company’s production capacity, and the factory in Kvasiny joined three years later. Both branch plants are still integral parts of ŠKODA AUTO, with Vrchlabí producing automatic gearboxes for the Group’s brands.