ŠKODA celebrates 25 years of collaboration with Volkswagen

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Over the past 25 years, ŠKODA has developed from a regional brand into a successful international car manufacturer. The decisive factors in this were the takeover by the Volkswagen Group. On April 16, 1991, the cooperation between the Czech manufacturer and Volkswagen started. In the presence of Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller and Jaroslav Povšík, head of the trade union KOVO MB, ŠKODA CEO Bernhard Maier today commemorated this historic milestone in the brand's 121-year history. Some 500 guests attended the anniversary celebration in the Laurin & Klement Forum of the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav.

Up to 1990, various car manufacturers from Western Europe and other regions had expressed their interest in the car brand set up in 1895 to the Czech government. That eventually gave the green light for a merger between ŠKODA and Volkswagen. Europe's largest car manufacturer sought strategic cooperation with the Czech brand, and welcomed the highly skilled, creative and efficient employees of ŠKODA.

Craftsmanship and engineering
Craftsmanship and engineering expertise have always been among the strong points of the Czechs. On March 28 1991 signed the Czech Minister of Industry, Jan Vrba, and Dr. Carl Hahn, CEO of Volkswagen, the agreement whereby the then 'ŠKODA automobilová akciová společnost' became a member of the Volkswagen Group. The document was endorsed on 16 April 1991. Subsequently, the Group gradually increased its share in the brand to become 30 exclusive shareholder of ŠKODA AUTO on 2000 May.

Successful example of privatization
The incorporation of ŠKODA by the Volkswagen Group is a successful example of privatization of Czech state-owned companies in the early 90. The annual production at that time was about 200.000 cars, while the model range consisted of only two model lines: a model with the rear engine whose production was about to end, and the compact Favorit presented in 1987, including the Forman station wagon variant. The first tangible result of the collaboration was called Felicia. The Octavia and Fabia laid a definitive basis under the contemporary popularity of the Czech brand. Anno 2016 supplies ŠKODA a wide selection of models, ranging from the small Citigo to the ŠKODA Superb with a total of more than forty model versions. During the past 25 year, the ŠKODA brand has developed steadily.

The Felicia from the 90 years was the first tangible result of the cooperation between Volkswagen and ŠKODA. Image: ŠKODA
The Felicia from the 90 years was the first tangible result of the cooperation between Volkswagen and ŠKODA. Image: ŠKODA

Billions of investments
Between 1991 and March 2016, ŠKODA invested more than 300 billion Kronor (around 11 billion) in new models, research, development and the expansion of production capacity in the Czech Republic. ŠKODA is the only manufacturer that not only produces cars in the Czech Republic, but also develops them there. The development department of the brand consisted of 1991 employees at the start of 600, today there are 2.000, all highly trained specialists working in the technology, development and design center in Mladá Boleslav.

Head office has been in the same place for 121 years
As a direct result of the collaboration with the Volkswagen Group, the production network of ŠKODA with three factories in Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny and Vrchlabí was further expanded during that period with production sites of the Volkswagen Group in China, India, Russia and Slovakia, followed by assembly sites in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The heart of ŠKODA still beats in Mladá Boleslav. The head office and the most important factory have been located here for 121 years. Today, ŠKODA is one of the most important pillars of the Czech economy. In 2014, the manufacturer accounted for 4,5 percent of the Czech gross national product and responsible for around 8 percent of the country's total exports. With around 28.500 employees, ŠKODA is now one of the largest employers in the Czech Republic.

More than a million cars
Today, ŠKODA produces more than one million cars annually and is represented in more than a hundred countries. The widest range of models in the history of the Czech brand is produced at 14 locations across two continents. The largest export markets are China and Germany.

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