VIP event marks 25 years for ŠKODA and VWG
Quarter of a century of growth highlighted at celebrations in Czech Republic
It’s been 25 years since ŠKODA became part of Volkswagen Group and, to celebrate, the company is inviting VIP guests from all over the world to its Czech Republic headquarters to show how much the brand has grown over the years.
A select group of UK journalists head out this week to coincide with the date the merger came into force: 16 April 1991. They will meet the CEOs of ŠKODA Auto and Volkswagen Group, Bernhard Maier and Matthias Müller, before touring the ŠKODA museum and driving a range of cars that mark the company’s development and growth since 1991.
Cars they’ll drive include the Favorit, the final car the company produced before its merger with Volkswagen Group. They’ll also try its estate version, the Forman, plus a Felicia – the company’s first model after the merger – and first-generation Fabias, Octavias and Superbs.
One journalist, Ed Wiseman from the Press Association, is even driving to the event from the UK in a 1995 ŠKODA Favorit, to get a full understanding of exactly how much our cars have developed over the years (see his route, below).
The incorporation of ŠKODA into Volkswagen Group is one of the most successful mergers in automotive history. ŠKODA’s production volume at that time was about 200,000 cars a year, and the range comprised just two model lines. Today ŠKODA offers an extensive range, from the small Citigo to the flagship Superb, with more than 40 model variants in-between.
Bernhard Maier, ŠKODA Auto CEO, said: “In the past 25 years, ŠKODA has developed from a regional brand into an internationally successful car manufacturer. The decisive factors in that were the acquisition through Volkswagen Group a quarter of a century ago and the professional co-operation between ŠKODA and Volkswagen. Our brand’s success story is unique in the automotive industry.”
ŠKODA and Volkswagen Group: dates and numbers
On 28 March 1991 Jan Vrba, the then Czech Minister of Industry, and Dr Carl Hahn, the CEO of Volkswagen, signed the contract for the integration of ŠKODA with Volkswagen Group.
On 16 April 1991 the document came into force. Volkswagen Group acquired 31 per cent of the company’s shares for 620 million Deutschmarks, and gradually increased its stake to become the sole owner on 30 May 2000.
Between 1991 and March 2016 ŠKODA invested more than 300 billion Czech Korunas (about 11 billion Euros) in new models, research, development and expanded production facilities in the Czech Republic.
600 people worked in ŠKODA’s development department in the spring of 1991; today, about 2,000 highly qualified specialists are employed in the technology, development and design centre at the company’s headquarters in Mladá Boleslav.
ŠKODA generated 4.5 per cent of the Czech Republic’s gross domestic product in 2014, and is now responsible for about eight per cent of all Czech exports.
With about 28,500 employees, ŠKODA is one of the largest employers in the Czech Republic.
12 April 2016