Friday, May 14, 2010


Škoda is the Czech auto manufacturer, which became a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group in 1991. You see Škoda everywhere here in Brno. I certainly didn't know about Škoda until I came here, but it seems that it is a fairly well known car throughout Europe and worldwide including China, India, and Russia (but not in the US or Japan).

I was reading some articles about Škoda, and it said that Škoda was the top-selling passenger car in Q1 of 2010 in Czech Republic! Its sales rose up by 61% and now dominates a 35% of market share. Impressive.

Anyway, I was wondering what "Škoda" means in Czech. I checked the Google Translate, and it gave me back the word "damage."  Sounds like an awful name for a car, doesn't it??  Anyway, it seems the name was coming from the company called Škoda Works that was named after the owner's family name.

So, I did a quick check on its history. Škoda Auto goes back to the early 1890s.  It started out as a bicycle manufacture. It said the guy named Klement was trying to get some spare parts to repair his German bicycle.  He returned the bike with Czech letter asking for a repair, but then the German manufacture get back to him in German stating that he should write them a letter in German if he wants them to reply to his inquiry.  Klement got upset and decided to open up his own repair shop by partnering with a guy named Laurin who had his own bicycle manufacture in 1895. The company grew fast and started to manufacture motorcycles, and became a manufacture of automobiles by 1905!

It was after the WWI when they were aquired by a company called Škoda Works, which was one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Europe in the 20th century. Škoda Works was founded by the noble family Waldstein in 1859. It was the leading arms manufacturer producing weapons such as heavy naval guns and mountain guns. The machine gun called Škoda M1909 seems to be the one of its famouse products. 

In 1859, they opened a machine factory in the town called Plzeň (Pilsen), which is now famous for the beer Pilsner. They made machinery and equipment for sugar mills, breweries, mines, steam engines, boilers, iron bridge structures, and railway facilities. And, Emil Škoda served as a chief engineer there. Okay, now you started to see the connection to the name Škoda!!  He bought the factory three years later in 1869.  The factory expanded over the next decade, and he incorporated his holdings in 1899 as the Škoda Works - only one year before his death.

Since Emil was deceased in 1900, it must had been his successor who did the deal with Laurin-Klement company.

The one we've been renting from Hertz (it seems like Škoda is the only car they have) here in Brno is called Fobia Fabia (thanks to Ivan for the correction). Very basic, but compact and runs well.  We've been happy about it. I also heard they have been making a concept car such as Joyster (3 door car). Hip stuff!

Btw, is it only me?  The one in the middle of Škoda's logo reminds me of Murloc from World of Warcraft. :-)

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