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Škoda Auto (Czech pronunciation: [ˈʃkoda] ( listen)), more commonly known as Škoda, is a Czech automobilemanufacturer founded in 1895 as Laurin & Klement. It is headquartered in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic.
In 1925 Laurin & Klement was acquired by Škoda Works which itself became state owned during the communist regime. After 1991 it was gradually privatized and in 2000 Škoda became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.
Initially, the company was meant to serve the role of the VW Group’s entry brand. Over time, however, the Škoda brand has shifted progressively more upmarket, with most models overlapping with their Volkswagen counterparts on price and features, while eclipsing them on space. Its total global sales reached 1.06 million cars in 2015 and had risen annually by 1.8 percent, profit had risen by 6,5%. In 2015, a corporate strategy was launched to produce an all-electric car by 2020 or 2021 with a range of over 300 miles (480 km), 15-minute charging time, and a cost below comparative combustion-engine vehicles.
The Škoda Works were established as an arms manufacturing plant in 1859. Škoda Auto (and its predecessors) is one of the five oldest companies producing cars and has an unbroken history alongside Daimler, Opel, Peugeot and Tatra.