Skoda Celebrates 25 Years Since Volkswagen Took the Reins of the Company

Skoda Favorit and Skoda Superb 1 photo
Photo: Skoda
On March 28, 1991, Skoda Auto signed a contract that made it a part of the Volkswagen Group. The contract came into effect on April 16 and the rest, as they say, is history. From a brand affected by the bad management of the communist regime of pre-1989 Czechoslovakia to a manufacturer that churns out more than a million vehicles per year, the change was for the better for Skoda Auto.
The supermini to the left of the picture is the Favorit (Typ 781), the final member of the old school Skoda brand. Despite the fact that it has been developed by a state-owned automaker in a communist country, the Favorit was a Skoda of many firsts. Among those firsts, the highlights are the engine, which was mounted transversely at the front, and the FWD chassis. And next to it, to the right of the picture, we have the newest generation of the Superb.

As I’m sure you know, the Superb is the newest model to bear a Skoda badge and it is one hell of a family car. Underpinned by Volkswagen’s MQB platform and available with AWD and a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic, the Superb is a far cry from the pre-Volkswagen era of Skoda. I still miss the rear-engined and RWD Skoda models from days gone by, though.

“In the last 25 years, Skoda has developed from a regional brand into an internationally successful car manufacturer. The decisive factors in that were the acquisition through Volkswagen Group a quarter of a century ago and the professional cooperation between Skoda and Volkswagen. Our brand’s success story is unique in the automotive industry,” commented Bernhard Maier, the chief exec of the Mlada Boleslav-based automaker.

If Volkswagen, the largest carmaker in Europe in 1991, hadn’t bought Skoda back then, Renault would have done it. In the competition of the Czech manufacturer, Renault lost to Volkswagen because the French automaker had a short-sighted and fault-laden plan to rejuvenate the brand. Under the careful ownership of VW, Skoda has become one of the best-selling car brands in Europe and a pillar of the Czech economy.

In 2014, Skoda generated 4.5 percent of the Czech gross domestic product and it was responsible for approximately 8 percent of all Czech export. It makes you wonder how Volkswagen, the company that made Skoda the performer it is today, also made a fool of itself with the blunder known as the Dieselgate scandal.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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