Page 2: A period of change
For the first half of this century, Skoda was one of the world’s greatest marques - manufacturing some of the most prestigious cars available, such as the luxury Hispano-Suiza limousines. It was a leader in motor car design, technical innovation and a pioneer in the new realm of motorsport.
The economic situation during the communist years in the former Czechoslovakia forced Skoda to become product rather than market orientated - with little regard for consumers and their needs. In time, Skoda became unable to keep up with western motor manufacturers in terms of style and innovation. The authorities made the rules - even insisting that the windscreens should not be raked too far back in case the cars looked decadently sporty! Without any outside influences in terms of creative and innovative ideas and manufacturing processes, the reputation and image of Skoda suffered.
The rebuilding of the Czech economy after the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989 was significant for Skoda. However, to benefit from the economic upturn, the company required a sound partner with the ability to invest, not only money, but also management expertise, thereby improving the efficiency of its factories, raising quality standards and planning for future development. Skoda’s partnership with Volkswagen was universally accepted as a way of guaranteeing the independence of the existing factories and the Skoda marque.
On April 16th 1991, Skoda became a public company, joining Volkswagen, Audi and Seat, to become the fourth brand in the Global Volkswagen Group. The strategic aim of the company was to reposition the marque, by returning to the core brand values of high quality standards, exceptional customer care and building a consistent marketing communications platform.