Sales at Skoda in January 2013 increased 10.2 percent to 75,400 units in year-on-year figures. This marked the Czech carmaker’s best January result ever since it was founded 117 years ago. Volkswagen Group's Czech brand posted these figures last Friday. This increase was driven was aided by sales in western European markets, primarily Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Skoda's production makes up around 7 percent of overall Czech exports. The company, with its broad web of suppliers, is one of the primary drivers for the economy. Skoda is considered to be a major factor in Volkswagen's plan to be the top selling global brand by 2018, ahead of General motors and Toyota.
This brand, which was purchased by VW for $1.4 billion after previously beginning a joint venture with the Czech carmaker in 1991, has been crucial in aiding VW to gain a more solid footing in emerging markets, with its budget vehicles.
Skoda benefited from the rise in demand from first-time buyers in Russia, India and China. Skoda is estimated to boost sales by 84 percent to 1.41 million vehicles by 2018 from 879,200 last year, according to IHS Automotive.
This growth is more than double the 41 percent that’s predicted for the VW brand but it still hasn’t achieved Skoda's own target of 1.5 million vehicles by 2018. Since Skoda was involved with VW, its sales have quadrupled from lower than 200,000 vehicles in 1991. In 2011, Volkswagen Group had been the second-largest world automaker with 8.16 million sales, falling behind General Motors with 9.05 million. In the same period, Toyota was No. 3 with sales of 7.95 million units.
Headquartered in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, Skoda is a Czech carmaker that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. The company was established in 1895 as Laurin & Klement by automotive pioneers Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement. While Laurin & Klement started out as a bicycle manufacturer, it soon began producing motorcyclettes (1898), motorcycles (1899) and automobiles (1905).
Laurin & Klement, commenced producing trucks after World War I, but soon run into financial problems. Akciova spolecnost, drive Skodovy zavody (Skoda Works) -- an arms manufacturer founded in 1859 -- acquired Laurin & Klement in 1925. From then on Laurin & Klement -- renamed as Akciova spolecnost pro automobilovy prumysl (ASAP) in 1930 following a spinoff – began operating as the Skoda Auto brand.
Skoda Works and Skoda Auto became state-owned in 1948. The fall of communism in Czechoslovakia saw authorities in the newly formed Czech Republic choosing a strong foreign partner to gradually privatize Skoda Auto. The Volkswagen Group -- as chosen by the Czech government -- acquired a 30-percent stake in Skoda Auto in April 1991.
Skoda then became the fourth brand of the Volkswagen Group, which gradually raised its shareholding in Skoda Auto until completely taking over the Czech carmaker in 2000.