Škoda Produces its ten-millionth vehicle
Filed under: News
Source: Škoda Auto
Škoda Auto produced its 10,000,000th vehicle on July 13 2006. Škoda has produced vehicles since 1905 when the very first L&K Voiturette A was completed at the company’s factory in Mladá Boleslav. Leaving the production line on July 13, the jubilee-marking vehicle is a silver Octavia Combi Elegance 2.0 TDI. The ten-millionth vehicle was donated to "Czech Centres", a government-funded organisation that is part of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Czech Centres’ mission is to build a positive international reputation for the Czech Republic through a network of Czech Centres across Europe and beyone. Czech Centres Director Jan Bondy received the vehicle from Škoda Auto Board of Directors Chairman Detlef Wittig and Horst Mühl, the Board Member responsible for Production and Logistics.
The history of automotive production in Mladá Boleslav started in 1905 when Václav Laurin and Václav Klement decided to stop producing bicycles and motorcycles and make automobiles instead. The first model produced in Mladá Boleslav was the Voiturette A, a small, lightweight and affordable car, of which the company produced about a hundred vehicles.
Laurin and Klement exported cars worldwide in the early stages of their vehicle production business, including New Zealand and Japan. The company employed very progressive and innovative technologies right from the beginning – a good example is the engine installed in the L&K Model FF in 1907, which was one of the world's first eight-cylinder units.
Production volumes increased throughout Škoda’s history. Starting with volumes in the hundreds, the first model whose total production broke the one thousand mark was the L&K / Škoda, made from 1925 -1929. The most successful models of the following years included the Popular (1934-1946) that was also produced in a sport version called the Popular Monte Carlo and the Škoda Superb (1934-1949) that was awarded a special prize in 1935 for its elegant design.
The Popular was Škoda’s first major technological revolution - while vehicles made until the mid nineteen-thirties had ladder-type frames, vehicles produced later were based on central-tube frames. In the 1950s, starting with the Škoda 1200 (1952-1961), the company began producing vehicles with all-metal bodies; the first vehicle with a self-supporting body was the Škoda 1000 MB.
The Škoda 1000 MB line, produced from 1964 until 1969, earned recognition in the product development stages; thanks to the results of international comparative tests, numerous awards and, in particular, its revolutionary aluminium engine. The Škoda MB 1000 became enormously popular – the factory produced a total of 443,141 vehicles of this type. The 1000 MB was the reason the company nearly doubled the Mladá Boleslav manufacturing plant in size. The production of the vehicle started a new era of rear-engine cars that were then produced until 1990. The factory then produced the Škoda Octavia and the Škoda Felicia (1959-1971 and 1959-1964, respectively), i.e., the origins of the namesake models produced decades later. Just like their modern successors, the vehicles were very popular with customers.
The company's all-time bestsellers are Škoda 105-120 (including the Rapid, Garde and 130 models) produced from 1976 until 1990 (altogether, 2,008,740 vehicles) and the Škoda Favorit (1987-1995, 1,077,136 vehicles). The Favorit was the first front-engine car for a long time, the first model with the front drive axle and the last model produced before the merger with the Volkswagen Group (1991). Then came the Felicia (1,420,441 vehicles, 1994 – 2001) and the currently produced Fabia, Octavia and Superb (over 3 million vehicles altogether, so far).
The acquisition by the Volkswagen Group is one of the most important milestones in Škoda's history. Starting with just one model, 170,000 vehicles a year and exports to 30 countries mainly in Central and Eastern Europe, the company has more than tripled its production and currently offers four model lines to its customers. Over five million vehicles with the famous winged arrow emblem have been produced since the Škoda-Volkswagen Group merger.
The company has production plants in the Czech Republic (Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny, Vrchlabí) as well as abroad (Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ukraine, India and Kazakhstan) and is going to produce its vehicles also in Russia and China, thus accomplishing its long-term strategy of international expansion.
In 2006, Škoda expects to produce over a half million vehicles for the first time in its history and is looking forward to producing many more millions of vehicles that are designed, as they always have been, with customers’ needs in mind.