Bookseller by trade, 26- year old Vaclav Klement's bicycle was in need of repair. He sent a letter of request, written in Czech, for service to the German manufacturer of his bicycle. The letter was answered. It stated, "If you would like an answer to your inquiry, you should try writing in a language we can understand". Consequently, this was all Vlacav Klement needed to get-the-wheels-turning. In 1895, Klement opened his own bicycle repair shop. He partnered with an established bicycle manufacturer, Vaclav Laurin, in Mlada Boleslav ( today's Czech Republic).
In 1898, Klement and Laurin bought a motorcycle, which turned out to be a faulty design. After Laurin lost a front tooth in a minor crash while operating the motorcycle, the two men asked the advice of German ignition specialist, Robert Bosch. They then developed a different electromagnetic system. Thus, the first Slavia motorcycle made its debut in 1899.
Business was good. In 1900, with a crew of 32 employees, 150 motorcycles were built and exported to London for the Hewston firm. Klement and Laurin's company was now established within Austria-Hungary and internationally.
The company first began building cars in 1905. Klement and Laurin's car factory was destroyed in 1924 after a fire. They had no choice but to seek a partner. They merged with Skoda Works of Czechoslovakia. Production was then under the Skoda name.
The real breakthrough was in 1987. Skoda engineers designed a car, the Favorit model, which was considered to be comparable to western production.
Skoda became the fourth brand of the German Volkswagen Group in 1991 and became a major player in the European car market. By 2005, Skoda was selling over 30,000 cars per year in the UK. Skoda owners in UK have ranked the brand at or near the top of customer satisfaction surveys throughout the 2000s. The brand is now known for quality, reliability and design is being sold in Australia.