Skoda History

Skoda Auto is a Czech automobile manufacturer, currently part of the massive Volkswagen group. The company was started way back in 1895 as Laurin and Klement, a weapons manufacturer. The company currently has 6 plants (4 in Europe, 2 in India), and the only major region it does not operate in is North America.

With the fall of communism around 1990, the Czechoslovakian government looked for a strategic partner to turn around Skoda’s fortunes. Up to then the cars had been a laughing stock in the automotive world, with poor reliability and build quality. A running joke of the time was, “Question: How do you double a Skoda’s value? Answer: Fill up the petrol tank!!” Volkswagen beat out Renault in the bidding, and Skoda joined the VW stable in 1991. Skoda benefited greatly from use of shared floorplans and architecture for its cars, as well as from the services of an advanced, professional design department. Since then the company has only gone from strength to strength, with sales skyrocketing from a few thousand per year in the 90’s, to about 30,000 cars in 2005, to over 680,000 in 2009. The company’s image and perception has undergone a dramatic transformation especially in Western Europe.

Skoda Models

Skoda in New Zealand sells the following models: first up the Fabia, a small hatchback suited to city commuting. Then the Octavia, a small family car first produced in 1959, which shares a VW platform with the Golf. It’s sold as a wagon or ‘liftback’, that is a sedan with a rear that opens like a hatchback’s. The Roomster is a multi-purpose “leisure activity vehicle” and it’s only sold with a 1.9 turbodiesel engine. The Superb is a larger sedan with an unusual boot opening that can operate as both hatchback and sedan. Lastly is the Yeti, Skoda’s foray into the mini-SUV market. It was runner-up in the 2009 European Car of the Year award.

Looking at buying a Skoda? Check the vehicle history of any Skoda by entering its number plate in the field above.