Skoda Auto

Skoda Auto

The story of Skoda is one of struggle and
success. Skoda enjoys a century-long history of motor vehicle manufacturing
in a small town in the Czech Republic, about sixty kilometers outside the
cultural and tourist center of Prague. Despite early achievements, times
became much harder during the former socialist era. The physical plant
fell into disrepair and quality declined. However, this tale in one of
transformation, and Skoda has once again become very successful in a joint
venture partnership with the large German manufacturer Volkswagen (Mendenhall
and Oddou, 379).

At the beginning of 1895 mechanic Václav

Laurin and bookseller Václav Klement began producing bicycles "Slavia"
in Mlada Boleslav.In the next few years, 1899, the firm Laurin & Klement
decided to manufacture also motorcycles, which leaded to success in many
international competitions. After first attempt at the turn of the century
the firm started to manufacture cars. In 1905, Laurin & Klement
introduced their first car, Voiturette A, which became very successful
between Czech classical veteran cars. Its production grew so fast
that soon L & K overstepped the scope of the family business.

Skoda 420 Popular

In 1907 the founders implemented the business
transaction to joint-stock company. In 1920s, the need for merge with stronger
industrial partners was expressed that, in 1925, Laurin and Klement merged
with Skoda Plzen (Pilsner). In the following years the modernize manufacturing
did not only include cars, but also trucks, buses, air engines, and agriculture
machinery. In 1930 the car production in the scope of concern was earned
many credits. Creation of Joint Company for Automobile Industry (JCAI)
after the world industrial crisis leaded for the success on the international
market with new models of Skoda, Skoda 422 and 420 Popular.

The World War II had broken this development,
which damage the civil program and oriented the production of the war equipment.

The JCIA Skoda became the part of German concern Hermann-Goring-Werke and
fully did have to orient to the war equipment. Besides the preparation
of the various parts of guns, Skoda manufactured also different kinds of
terrain vehicles, such as heavy tractors and towing vehicles, tanks, etc.

Skoda 1101

After World War II the JCIA was changed
to Automobile Factory/National Company (AFNC) Skoda. Skoda started to manufacture
new models, Skoda 1101/1102 Tudor, which had got along with the technical
success of the prewar years. During the 1950s and 1960s, Skoda again introduced
new models, Skoda 1200, Spartak, Octavia, Felicia, as well as Skoda 1000MB.

New increase of production, more than million of vehicles, was made by
introducing Skoda 782 Favorit to the market in 1987 together with Forman

785 and Pickup 787.

After the political changes of 1989 in
the Czech Republic, Skoda in Mlada Boleslav began seeking in the new condition
of market economy strong international partner that could guarantee with
its experience and investments long-term international competitiveness
of the company. In December of 1990 Czech government decided for the cooperation
with German concern Volkswagen. On April 16, 1991, Skoda, joint-venture,
began its forth brand concern with among such well-known companies as VW,

AUDI and Seat. (Web Skoda)

The goal of the venture was to transfer
knowledge and expertise to locals from German expatriates on temporary
assignment. "Czech and German managers were paired as part of a "tandem
system" for the purpose of exchanging "know-how" (Mendenhall and Oddou,

380)." According to a Czech manager, the phase of the know-how transfer
is finished sot he number of expatriates is decreasing, and before 1999
should be small group of foreign managers here who are focused on strategic
issues. Both Czechs and Germans agree that the effectiveness of the tandem
system is related to the personalities of individual managers, and to the
level of knowledge possessed by the German expatriate.

Thanks to the modernized measures in management
marketing, as well as in the manufacturing process, Skoda Favorit was replaced
by Skoda Felicia that with its quality and design was appropriate for the
international market. Also other preparations were made for second model
rows, low middle-class Octavia that was introduced on the Czech market
by the end of 1996 and two year after Skoda Octavia-Combi.


Vehicles manufactured by Skoda Auto
are currently sold in 64 markets worldwide. "Impressive sales figures underscore
the continued success of the Czech subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group."
(Web Skoda) Vehicles deliveries set again a new half-year record: the sale
of approximately 200,000 vehicles during the first six months of 1999 represents
an increase of 10.6 percent over the previous record of 180,342 automobile.

Skoda Auto achieved its greatest growth in Western Europe where a total
of 101,534 vehicles were sold, 20.2 percent up from the previous year.

The Western European market accounted fro more than fifty percent of