The Skoda Auto Museum in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic is housed in the very same building in which the company began producing cars. In this TFLcar “Behind the Scenes” video, Roman takes us on an up-close-and-personal tour of the museum and unearths the history of Skoda in TFL4K.
Skoda Auto has come a long way since its founding in 1895 as a bicycle manufacturer, going by the name of Laurin & Klement. In 1924, Laurin & Klement began manufacturing trucks, but began falling victim to the World War I financial crisis shortly thereafter. The company was then acquired in 1925 by Skoda Works and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen in 2000, positioned as their entry-level brand.
The first Skoda imported to the US was the 1960 Skoda Felicia, a compact four-cylinder convertible coupe, which came to our shores in 1959. Its retail price was around $2,700 US, fairly optimistic for the time. In successive decades, Skoda’s reputation would falter and sales would begin to decline.
After Skoda’s takeover by VW, their reputation improved significantly and sales began to increase. In 2013, the company’s total global sales were 931,696 cars – a stark contrast to the 460,252 cars sold in 2001, the first year after VW’s takeover of the brand.